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Founded in 1946 by three visionary women — Eloise MacDonald Snyder, Betty Berry Spain, and Jeanne Axtell Walker — Fort Worth Opera is the oldest opera company in Texas, and one of the oldest opera companies in the United States. The organization has received local and national attention from critics and audiences alike for its artistic excellence, pioneering spirit, and long history of community-based cultural engagement. In addition to producing traditional repertoire with rising stars and inspirational young talents, the company is known throughout the operatic world as a champion of new American works.

The March sisters Jennifer Dudley as Jo, Sandra Piques Eddy as Meg, Tawny Seward as Beth,


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.



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



Austrian native Karl Kritz, an associate conductor for The Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, became the company’s new music director and first full-time General Director for four seasons.



Geoffrey T. Hobday became General Director and conductor of Fort Worth Opera.



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.



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.



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



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.



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.



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).



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



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



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.



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



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.



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



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.



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



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



Fort Worth Opera celebrates its 50th anniversary.



Fort Worth Opera moves its productions to Bass Performance Hall.



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



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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



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.

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.



Fort Worth Opera launches new digital platform FWO Green Room, featuring exciting performances, seminars, and masterclasses.


Metropolitan Opera soprano Jennifer Rowley collaborates with Fort Worth Opera during a four-month artist residency and virtual audition intensive, featuring masterclasses and workshops on Zoom with opera industry luminaries and panelists advising young opera singers across the globe. 


The Fort Worth Opera Chorus makes its digital debut with a stunning performance of 20th-century choral icon Moses Hogan’s His Light Still Shines.


Afton Battle named eighth General Director of Fort Worth Opera.


Fort Worth Opera presents Frontiers: FWO Libretto Workshop, a two-night storytelling event lead by Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell, featuring live actors and a distinguished panel of librettists, composers, directors, and artists. 


Company launches FWO GO, an artistic initiative featuring socially distanced, pop-up performances in neighborhoods across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.


Fort Worth Opera collaborates with the Tarrant Area Food Bank for a mobile pantry, food drive, and live, socially-distanced performances of eighth world premiere, Stone Soup, a Texas-themed family opera by FWO Artistic Director Joe Illick and librettist Mark Campbell. 


Angela Turner Wilson named General & Artistic Director of Fort Worth Opera.


Siphokazi Molteno wins the Bienneial McCammon Competition.

Fort Worth Opera announces it's 78th Season including La Médium, dwb (driving while black), La Bohème and An Evening with Morris Robinson.

Fort Worth Opera premiers the Spanish translation version of La Médium at the Rose Marine Theatre in October.


Fort Worth Opera presented the regional premier of dwb (driving while black) in February.

Fort Worth Opera returns to Bass Performance Hall with it's 13th production of La Bohème, featuring the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, in April.

Fort Worth Opera announces it's 79th Season including Little Women, La Cenerentola, ¡Bienvenidos! de Frida Kahlo, Hattie Mae Lesley Resident Artists Showcase and Biennial McCammon Voice Competition.

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