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About Us

About Us

An engaged and enlightened community in which all members have the opportunity to collectively enjoy the rich aesthetic, emotional, intellectual and cultural experience of opera.

To serve the public by producing world-class opera that preserves, promotes and advances the art form while embodying the diversity, pioneering spirit and artistic sensibility unique to Los Angeles.



The Staging of an Opera Company

In a little over three decades of existence, LA Opera has become, under the leadership of Eli and Edythe Broad General Director Plácido Domingo, the United States' fourth largest opera company and "...stands out as a newly important force in American Opera." (Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times).

Get to know our story below from our very first season in 1986 to now.

How LA Opera Came To Be


Our story does not begin in 1986; nor does it begin with the 1986/87 season of shows that included Otello, Salome, Madame Butterfly, Alcina and Porgy and Bess. The company’s roots can be traced four decades earlier, to a time when Los Angeles was largely associated with Hollywood’s “Golden Age of Cinema” as well as the stars that graced the silver screen. Amidst this cinematic renaissance, there existed the desire to expose the wider community to other art forms such as opera.

Learn more about our history and how our first season in 1986 put us on the map.

Becoming An International Company

Under our first general director, Peter Hemmings, we became an international company, known for pushing the boundaries of opera. At home, Hemmings created a collaborative culture of creativity the remnants of which still exist to this day. Learn how Hemmings spearheaded the creation of a major opera company.

Our First Decade and Beyond

In the years leading up to the millennium and under Peter Hemmings leadership, we continued to push the boundaries of the medium, nurture relationships with artists at every stage of their careers, prompting many titans of opera (including Maria Ewing, Carol Vaness, Frederica von Stade and Thomas Allen, to mention just a few) to return to Los Angeles numerous times, while simultaneously cultivating future stars such as Rod Gilfry. Learn how Hemmings fourteen years as general director changed the course of the company's future.

Plácido Domingo Becomes Artistic Director

We ushered in the new millennium with astounding vitality. Now led by Plácido Domingo as artistic director, the young company was poised to build upon the remarkable growth that had marked its first 14 years under the direction of Peter Hemmings. While the 2000/01 season had largely been planned in advance by the now-retired Hemmings, Domingo’s impact was big, bold and immediate.

A New Decade. A New Future.

LA Opera’s last decade has been marked by multi-season initiatives—celebrating influential composers, exploring special repertoire, or presenting works in innovative ways—and it all started with staging the Ring cycle from 2008-2010 and the city-wide festival that accompanied the staging.
By exploring one subject in multiple ways, Ring Festival LA showcased the astonishing diversity of cultural organizations in Los Angeles. It also forged a new model for collaboration between cultural, community and educational institutions. In subsequent years, two similar initiatives would follow, directly inspired by LA Opera’s programming: Britten 100/LA and Figaro Unbound.

While no one can predict the future with certainty, multi-season themes will surely play an important role in shaping repertoire choices. Domingo’s ongoing exploration of the baritone repertoire has added an exciting new chapter to his longtime involvement with the company, likely to continue well beyond his upcoming appearance in Nabucco. Performances of Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten gave audiences a new appreciation for the works of Philip Glass. Wonderful Town last December launched a three-season celebration leading up to Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday in 2018, which will continue this season with Candide. Off Grand performances at REDCAT and elsewhere will continue to delight audiences eager for new kinds of operatic experiences. Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin will cotinue his work as both composer and conductor throughout his new two seasons in Los Angeles. And there is sure to be more Wagner on the horizon for James Conlon. Time will tell…

To paraphrase Tolstoy, art provides a bridge of sympathy—a connection—between people. Opera’s unique combination of classical music, storytelling and visual arts that is simultaneously shared with large groups of people magnifies this phenomenon exponentially. Especially in light of current events, helping people find emotional common ground is profoundly important to a healthy society. Our community needs LA Opera; the work we do is critical and worthy of financial support.

As a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the community of Los Angeles, fiscal responsibility is a cornerstone of our organization. We use the utmost care to ensure that the money entrusted to us by the community either by donations or ticket sales is responsibly managed and used for the greater good. We strive to be straightforward, open and complete with information regarding our finances. Please click on the following links to read our most recent audit and Form 990.