America’s seventh-oldest opera company was founded as The Opera Guild of Greater Miami (later known as Greater Miami Opera Association) in 1941 by Arturo di Filippi, an accomplished tenor and voice teacher at the University of Miami. In 1945, The Opera Guild, Inc., of Fort Lauderdale was founded with the mission of presenting performances of Opera Guild of Greater Miami productions in Fort Lauderdale. The relationship continued until 1994, when the two companies merged to form Florida Grand Opera.
In Miami, the initial performances were presented in the Miami Senior High School Auditorium until 1951, when Dade County Auditorium opened west of the downtown area. In 2006, Miami performances moved to the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House at the new Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Performances in Fort Lauderdale were continuously presented at the War Memorial Auditorium from 1945 until the opening of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in 1991.
Susan T. Danis was appointed Florida Grand Opera’s fourth General Director in 2012. During her tenure at Sarasota Opera, where she had served as Executive Director since 1999, the company’s budget had grown exponentially, and she successfully headed a $47 million capital campaign which included the renovation of the company’s historic theater. In the Fall of 2013, her first planned season opened with Marvin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Electra, and closed with Jules Massenet’s, Thaïs.
Florida Grand Opera is celebrating its 77th year of continuously producing grand opera during the 2017-18 Season. The mainstage operas of the season include: Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, November 11-December 2, 2017; Richard Strauss’s Salome, January 27-February 10, 2018; Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, March 17-31, 2018; and Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, April 28 – May 5, 2018.