In 1981, the Greensboro Opera raised its curtain for the first time, initially operating as a volunteer-led organization featuring just one opera annually. Over the years, it has transformed into a staple institution in Greensboro, contributing to the opera scene and presenting top-tier professional productions for the enjoyment, education, and enrichment of the community. David Holley, the General and Artistic Director, emphasizes their mission to break down the barriers surrounding opera, stating, “We don’t just ask people to come into our theatre; we meet people in their communities.”
Greensboro Opera performs across the city, including at the Tanger Center, UNCG Auditorium, and Wellspring Life Plan Community. However, the organization is not solely focused on staging remarkable performances; education is a key focus of its mission. One noteworthy initiative is Opera at the Carolina, a collaborative effort with Guilford County Schools and the UNCG Opera Theatre, supported by the Cemala Foundation, Truist, and the Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation. Each year, 6,000 fifth-grade students are invited to witness the essence of opera—an art form weaving together music and drama. To actively involve students, Greensboro Opera hosts the Barbara Ann Peters “Write Your Own Opera” for fourth-graders, allowing them to submit a creative story, which is then brought to life on stage at the Carolina Theatre the following year.
Reflecting on the impact of these educational programs, Holley shares a heartening story from the frontlines. While coaching a Little League team, he asked the diverse group of students if they had attended an opera at the Carolina Theatre. As hands went up and children excitedly shared their experiences, Holley seized the opportunity to convey a valuable lesson: “You can be an athlete and an artist. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.” Recognizing the need to reach beyond traditional opera enthusiasts, Greensboro Opera also organizes summer camps and community outreach events.
The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro and Greensboro Opera actively partner to serve our shared community. Most recently, Greensboro Opera participated in The ACGG’s ARPA Sustainability Cohort receiving nonprofit business training to help foster organizational stability. “The program helped us identify places we might make adjustments and the action steps to get there”, commented Holley. “The work has been transformative to our organization”.
To discover more about Greensboro Opera and their initiatives, visit their website at https://greensboroopera.org/. Keep an eye out for their upcoming events, including the exciting Gala Benefit “A Night Among the Stars” at Temple Emanuel on February 27, 2024.