A rich and passionate form of art, opera offers a unique multi-sensory
experience which can't but touch listener's soul. And even if you have
long enjoyed opera, there is probably still a lot to discover about
it. If you happen to visit Cleveland, Ohio, visiting Cleveland Opera
is a must. Opera Cleveland is a professional opera company, formed in
2006 in Cleveland, Ohio, as a result of a merger between two existing
opera companies: the New Cleveland Opera Company which operated from
1976 to 2006, and Lyric Opera Cleveland.
Founded in March 1976 by David Bamberger, Carola Bamberger, and John
D. Heavenrich, Cleveland Opera debuted in the fall of that year with sold-out
productions of Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Rossini's The Barber of
Seville. Soon Cleveland Opera became the resident opera company at Playhouse
Square Center, and by 1984 it had staged regular performances at the State
Theater. The company made a significant contribution in the revitalization
of the historic Cleveland Theater District and played a vital role in
the movement to make theaters accessible to the physically challenged.
During the period from March 1976 to April 2004 when the company was
run by David Bamberger as General Director and Carola Bamberger as Associate
Director Cleveland Opera presented 122 full productions of 74 works by
43 different composers. The repertoire was very rich and could please
anyone's taste as it spanned the history of musical theater from Monteverdi
to the present. Its casts included some of opera's most prominent singers,
including Roberta Peters, Jerome Hines, Sherrill Milnes. Such world renowned
singers as Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and José Carreras
also performed in concerts held on the stage of Cleveland Opera.
Besides presenting a wide range of operas and operettas, Cleveland
Opera also staged many musical theatre favorites, including West Side
Story, Man of La Mancha and My Fair Lady. It even commissioned and presented
a world premiere opera "Holy Blood and Crescent Moon" by a famous
Rock musician, Stewart Copeland of "The Police", having gained
international recognition. Cleveland Opera was also noted for its outstanding
education and outreach program called "Cleveland Opera on Tour".
It was a member of OPERA America, a national organization which supervises
and promotes the development of opera all across North America.
Since April 2004 the company has experienced considerable financial
problems that weakened it greatly. Because of substantial financial constraints
it was decided that Cleveland Opera was to merge with Lyric Opera Cleveland,
a smaller company that operated mostly in the summer. After the merger
the company was renamed Opera Cleveland and presented its first staged
production in April 2007. Unfortunately because of the national economic
crisis of 2007 the company had to suspend its performances in the fall
of 2010. A committee has been established to look into what type of opera
company Cleveland might have in the future.
In the previous centuries people used to go to the opera house if they
wanted to enjoy classical music along with professional singing. Now opera
lovers can enjoy listening to their favorite arias anywhere: at home,
in a car or in a plane. With so many CDs available at target.com and eBay building your own opera collection is easy and really not expensive. But
naturally opera is not just about music and singing, it is also about
acting and performing. Nothing can compare to seeing live opera performance.
Any person should visit opera at least once in a lifetime. George Bernard
Shaw, a master of quick-witted quotations gave the following definition
of opera, "Opera is when a tenor and a soprano want to make love
and are prevented from doing so by a baritone". Did he hit the point?