HISTORICAL TIMELINE

May 29, 1946

Three visionary women, Eloise MacDonald Snyder, Betty Berry Spain, and Jeanne Axtell Walker filed for a state corporation charter under the name Fort Worth Civic Opera Association.

November 25, 1946

La Traviata was performed to a sold-out house at Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium.

1946-1949

Dr. Walther R. Volbach became the company’s artistic director.

1949

Karl Kritz, a man well connected with the San Francisco Opera, became the company’s new music director.

1953

Geoffrey T. Hobday became director and conductor of Fort Worth Opera.

1955

German-born Rudolf Kruger was appointed music director and conductor. During the next twenty-eight years under his leadership, the company became a nationally recognized regional opera.

1955

The season was expanded from three to four productions a year with the assistance of the Ford Foundation. Artists from the Metropolitan Opera began to appear on our stage.

1962

Lily Pons stepped out of retirement to make her final operatic appearance in Lucia di Lammermoor with a young Plácido Domingo.

1963

Beverly Sills made her debut appearance with the Fort Worth Opera as Violetta in La Traviata. She made multiple appearances with the company to launch several additions to her repertoire.

1965

Plácido Domingo returns to Fort Worth eight more times through 1973 following critically acclaimed debuts at La Scala, the Met, and the New York City Opera.

1966

The company inaugurated an educational outreach program through a series of student productions, beginning with an English version of Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Bewitched Child).

1969

The Fort Worth Opera board established the biennial Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition.

1970

Fort Worth Opera stages the first local production of a full-length American opera, The Ballad of Baby Doe.

1976

Due to the generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts, the company produces Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah during the national bicentennial celebration with Floyd directing.

1983

Dwight Bowes, formerly of Michigan Opera Theatre, named Fort Worth Opera’s new General Director.

1984-1985

The Fort Worth Symphony becomes the company’s permanent orchestra and Fort Worth Opera charted an ambitious five-production season, introducing daring new repertoire such as Stephen Paulus’ The Postman Always Rings Twice.

1985

Aïda becomes Fort Worth Opera’s first production to utilize supertitles with a system developed by the Canadian Opera Company.

1986

João Mario Ramos, former Director of Development for the Public Opera of Dallas, is named General Director following the critically-acclaimed staging of I Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana with international opera star Martina Arroyo.

1990

Fort Worth Opera stages Police-drummer Stewart Copeland’s new opera Holy Blood and Crescent Moon.

1991

Metropolitan Opera baritone William Walker appointed Fort Worth Opera’s new General Director.

1996

Fort Worth Opera celebrates its 50th anniversary.

1998

Fort Worth Opera moves its productions to Bass Performance Hall.

2001

William Walker retires and Darren K. Woods joins the company as General Director.

2007

Fort Worth Opera became the first major American company to make the transition from a fall/spring season to a festival format. The inaugural Fort Worth Opera Festival featured the company’s first major world premiere and commercial CD recording with Thomas Pasatieri’s Frau Margot.

2013

Fort Worth Opera launches the Frontiers new works initiative, giving voice to unpublished 21st century operatic compositions, and the branding of the Opera Unbound series of operatic chamber works.

2014

Fort Worth Opera inaugurates a ten-year artistic commitment to the production of works from contemporary composers of the Americas with Opera of the Americas, beginning with Daniel Crozier and Peter M. Krask’s With Blood, With Ink.

2016

Phase One of FWOpera’s Opera of the Americas initiative culminates with the world premiere commissioned work JFK by David T. Little and Royce Vavrek.

2017

Fort Worth Opera launches Noches de Ópera, a celebration of Spanish-language operas and Latino/a cultural and heritage.

 

Tuomas Hiltunen is appointed Fort Worth Opera’s new General Director and Joe Illick as the company’s Artistic Director.

 

Fort Worth Opera establishes the prestigious National Artistic Council, led by Plácido Domingo.

2018

The FWO-TCU Lesley Artist Program, a collaboration with the TCU Opera Studio, is established and expanded from four to eight singers.

 

Fort Worth Opera presents Hansel and Gretel in November of 2018, the first full production outside of the Festival format since 2007.

 

The 2019 world premiere of Companionship is announced, the first opera by a female composer in company history.

 

18-year-old soprano Jayden Goldberg organizes Share the Passion benefit concert, providing 4,000 students the opportunity to attend the company’s Student Night at the Opera performances.

 

Fort Worth Opera’s summer music education intensitve, Opera FUNatics, is established by FWO Manager of Education and Community Engagement, Sheran Goodspeed Keyton

2019

Fort Worth Opera develops inclusive Relaxed Performances program, offering audiences members with autism spectrum conditions, Asperger’s syndrome, Down syndrome, and sensory differences, a modified environment to enjoy Children’s Opera Theatre performances.

 

Metropolitan Opera star Jennifer Rowley headlines the company’s Southern Soirée Gala at The Stonegate Mansion.

 

The 2019 Festival lineup expands to include concerts, workshops, and special events, such as a keynote lecture featuring Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic for The New York Times, and a performance by the legendary Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán in Sundance Square.

OUR MISSION

Our mission at Fort Worth Opera is to educate, entertain, and expand the horizons of current and future audiences and artists through variety and artistic integrity.

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