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Baltimore Opera
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Baltimore Opera

Baltimore Opera is an opera company in Baltimore, Maryland.

Building on earlier amateur efforts, Baltimore Opera was formally established in 1950 as Baltimore Civic Opera Company with the famous American soprano Rosa Ponselle as its first artistic director. Ponselle brought Beverly Sills to Baltimore in 1952 for a production of Manon.

In 1960, the company embarked upon a program of modernization, attracting private funding to be able to hire professional set designers and diversity its repertoire. In subsequent years, it staged notable productions of such operas as Der Rosevenkavalier in 1962 with conductor Kurt Adler, Rigoletto in 1964 with Sherrill Milnes, Lucia di Lammermoor with Anna Moffo, Turandot in 1966 with Birgit Nilsson and Teresa Stratas, and the Tales of Hoffmann in 1967 with Sills, Plácido Domingo, and Norman Treigle.

In 1963, the Ford Foundation awarded the company a grant which allowed it to settle on a format of three operas a season and to hire a full time production manager. 1963 also marked the first year of the Baltimore Opera Vocal Competition.

In 1993, Baltimore Opera inaugurated its SummerAria Series, dedicated to works by American composers. The company currently mounts five to six productions a year.

The home base of the company is Baltimore's Lyric Opera House, a theater that was modelled after the Leipzig's Gewandhaus. It was inaugurated on October 31, 1894, with a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Australian opera singer Nellie Melba as the featured soloist. Not long after, Enrico Caruso appeared there with the Metropolitan Opera in a performance of Flotow's Martha.

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