Regional Opera Company of the Week: Florentine Opera Company
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by Scott Frost
BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theatre site on the net, continues its expansion into other areas of entertainment with our latest feature -'The Regional Opera Company of the Week'.
This week's featured Opera Company is Florentine Opera Company in Wisconsin!
Milwaukee Wisconsin’s Florentine Opera Company is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in the state and the sixth oldest opera company in the nation. Founded in 1933 by John-David Anello, the company was first called the Italian Opera Chorus. In 1942, the group became the Florentine Opera Chorus because director Anello wanted to “honor the birthplace of opera as we know it. The craft originated in the Italian city of Florence, which has been known as a bustling center for the arts for many centuries.” As the name suggests, their focus was on operatic choral performances and had grown to a group of 100 members with a waiting list just as long. By 1950, however, the Florentine Opera Chorus ventured out of the choral performances and began producing complete operas. This brought upon the second and final name change to the Florentine Opera Company.
The company now presents three fully staged productions each season. Performances take place at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Milwaukee. The Marcus Center is home not only to the Florentine Opera but also to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet, as well as Broadway and Off-Broadway touring productions. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra serves as the orchestra for all Florentine Opera Company productions.
As a leader in the Wisconsin arts community, all programs of the Florentine Opera Company are driven by the mission to present productions reflecting the highest musical and theatrical standard and are designed to fulfill the Company’s vision to expand the experience of patrons with memorable, outstanding and exciting performances. Audiences enjoy beautiful main stage productions that include first-rate vocal artistry brought to life by established and emerging local, national and international opera stars.
The Florentine Opera is a charter member organization of the United Performing Arts Fund and receives funds from the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and State of Wisconsin as well as support from many corporations, patrons and foundations in order to deliver this caliber of opera performance to the Milwaukee community.
Over the past decade, the Florentine Opera has premiered several new American operas. It produced the American premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1999. In 2009, the Company presented Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfien’s Elmer Gantry. A world premiere of Don Davis’ Rio de Sangre opened in 2010. Under the current management of William Florescu, Joseph Rescigno and Scott S. Stewart the Company continues to bring Milwaukee award winning seasons.
Celebrating their 75th Anniversary season this year the Company is performing: