Founded in 1946, Fort Worth Opera is the oldest continually performing opera company in Texas, and one of the 14 oldest opera companies in the United States. Under the leadership of General Director Darren K. Woods since 2001, the organization has gained national attention from critics and audiences alike for its artistic quality and willingness to take risks. Known throughout the operatic world as a champion of new and rarely-performed works, the company has taken a leadership role in producing contemporary operas.
In 2007, when the company changed its fall/winter schedule to a condensed one-month long Festival in the spring, FWOpera staged its first world premiere,Frau Margot, and followed up the next season with Angels in America, Dead Man Walking in 2009, the world premiere of Before Night Falls in 2010, and Hydrogen Jukebox in 2011. The 2012 Festival staged the regional premieres of Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata and Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, the first time the two composers’ works have been co-programmed, and the 2013 season featured the regional premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, as well as the inaugural season of its new works showcase, Frontiers, featuring works by eight composers from the Americas. In 2014, the company presented the professional world premiere of Daniel Crozier and Peter M. Krask’s With Blood, With Ink, as well as the regional premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night. Fort Worth Opera’s CD recordings of Frau Margot, Before Night Falls, and Glory Denied are available on the Albany label. Fort Worth Opera’s CD recordings of Frau Margot, Before Night Falls, and Glory Denied, and With Blood, With Ink are available on the Albany label.
The company’s 2015 season, part of Phase One of its recently announced ten-year artistic vision Opera of the Americas — funded in part by support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — includes the regional premiere of David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s critically acclaimed Dog Days, based on the Judy Budnitz short story of the same title. Reinforcing its leadership role in contemporary opera, the 2015 Festival includes the third season of its annual new works program, Frontiers, showcasing new works by composers from the Americas. The company will also feature fresh productions of Verdi’s timeless tale of love and sacrifice La Traviata, and Ambroise Thomas’ soaring grand operatic masterwork Hamlet.
Established in 2002, the Fort Worth Opera Studio is a year-round training program for emerging young artists who are cast from annual national auditions. In addition to receiving professional training while in Fort Worth, the singers also perform in the Children’s Opera Theatre, the company’s educational program that tours fully costumed, portable operas to elementary schools. COT performances span the whole state of Texas and reach as many as 50,000 children a year, many of whom have no other access to arts education. Since 2007, attendance of Festival performances by out-of-town audiences has grown almost 5%. The local economy has also benefitted, with over 1,900 hotel rooms booked for the 2012 Festival alone. The company has balanced its budget for the eighth consecutive year.
Board of Directors
John O. Sutton, Jr.
G. Whitney Smith
Jo Ann Patton