Opera Roanoke fosters a wider appreciation of opera in western Virginia by offering compelling performances of engaging productions and programs. An enterprising and resourceful multi-disciplinary organization, Opera Roanoke is a vital component of the cultural life in Roanoke, Virginia’s Blue Ridge and beyond.
The company was started in 1976 as the Southwest Virginia Opera Society (SVOS) by a group of dedicated volunteers and the first performances of Menotti’s The Consul took place in two years later, in 1978.
Over the next fifteen years, SVOS would continue to produce standard operatic masterpieces, drawing talent from within the Roanoke region and playing to enthusiastic audiences. Robert Sinclair and Milton Granger directed these early performances and early mentors and advisors were notable Metropolitan Opera stars Eleanor Steber and Irene Dalis.
Under the artistic leadership of Victoria Bond from 1989 to 1996, the company presented singers, instrumentalists, and set designers of increasingly high artistic stature. It affected a name change from SVOS to Opera Roanoke in 1991 to reflect its enhanced professional status. Past artistic leadership includes Victoria Bond, Craig Fields, Steven White, and Scott Williamson.
More than forty years later, Opera Roanoke continues to produce high-quality performances and has expanded its educational programming over the past ten years to include the successful Apprentice Artist Program, opera curriculum for students, and programs for the greater community to expand awareness of the art form.