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Opera Orlando Experiences Major Company Growth Ahead of 2023-24 Season

Coming off its most successful season to date, Opera Orlando is poised to truly pack the house this season with big titles and big productions as it presents three fully produced operas with orchestra for the first time On the MainStage, two unique titles in unexpected places On the Town, The Mozart Dinner, all of the Company’s ancillary events, and its ever-expanding education programs. The Opera has experienced exponential growth from its launch in 2016 thanks to solid financials, a growing and passionate patron and donor base, and a dedicated and invested board of directors.


“What a ride it has been,” stated general director Gabriel Preisser. “From just two productions in our first season to now six productions between our MainStage and On the Town series, growing from a staff of two to now a staff of 14, and with the opening of Steinmetz Hall—an architectural wonder of an opera house—the Opera is and will continue to be an arts organization that our entire community can take pride in.”


The completion of Steinmetz Hall at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has been a game-changer for the Company, doubling the Opera’s audience in just a year and a half, and leading to Opera Orlando’s The Mozart Dinner being Orlando’s most-desirable event. Last season, The Mozart Dinner, presented in Steinmetz Hall, sold out three months in advance. Furthermore, the Company exceeded more than half a million dollars in ticket revenue alone last season for the first time in its history. Since its founding in January 2016, the Company has experienced consistently increasing revenue, ending its 2022-23 fiscal year again in the black with $2,119,000 in income and approximately $1,929,000 in expenses. The Company successfully grew from a modest $250,000 annual budget in its first season to more than $2 million in a short six-year period, maintaining that budget level over the past two seasons. The organization prides itself on staying in the black and remaining fiscally solvent and sustainable, increasing cash reserves to more than $300,000 at the end of its last fiscal year (June 2023). Additionally, in August of 2022, the Company established the Opera Orlando Endowment Fund as a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit with and cash gifts. The endowment has set an ambitious goal to reach $10 million by the end of the 2025-26 season—the organization's 10th anniversary. 


“We are calling it 10 by 10 (10x10), $10 million by our 10th anniversary, but there is a double intent there,” shared senior development director Russell P. Allen. “The success of the endowment campaign will help secure a future home for Opera Orlando with adequate rehearsal space, office space, wardrobe space, storage,  and shop space—everything needed for a growing company of our size. So, really our 10x10 campaign will not just be about building the endowment but also building and securing the future home for the Opera.”


This effort correlates directly with Opera Orlando’s current strategic plan. ​Opera Orlando​ initially developed a five-year strategic plan at the end of the 2016-2017 season with the assistance of industry consultant Michael Kaiser. Opera Orlando successfully accomplished all of the goals and objectives of that plan, which had a focus on the organization moving into Steinmetz Hall. The Company then met with community partners and outside consultants to create the Opera's next five-year strategic plan in August 2022, with a focus on expanding infrastructure, increasing production size, expanding education programs, and elevating audience experience and loyalty. 


As a result of that plan, Opera Orlando has added new key staff positions for the 2023-24 season including a development manager, resident pianist and chorus master, resident costume shop manager, resident production stage manager, Youth Company instructor, and Youth Company pianist. The Company also welcomed seven new board members to the organization, all bringing key skill sets for the future growth and sustainability of the Company. New members include Jeff Buhler from Massey Services, Soyini Chang from Quantum Power Skills, Troy Culley from Hylant Insurance Group, John De Armas with ProfitLand and Visit Orlando, Bea Hoelle-Hawes, Dr. Mary Palmer with UCF, and Nancy Wagers.


“Opera Orlando​'s collaborative spirit, community drive, and inspiring productions are truly what sets us apart,” stated Opera Orlando board chair Kathy Cressey. “We are thrilled to welcome these dynamic new board members who will help us continue our mission of engaging and entertaining Central Florida audiences with relevant productions that reflect the diverse community that we serve.” 


Collaboration proves to be a hallmark core value for the organization, and the 2023-24 All for Art season will see the Opera continuing its partnerships with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Ballet, while also returning to partner with such groups as MicheLee Puppets, Phantasmagoria, and Casa de Mexico. These partnerships have allowed the Company to present top-class productions, while also attracting internationally renowned artists eager to work with the Opera and bring their artistry to Orlando. This season alone will feature Greek soprano Eleni Calenos making her company debut as the title role in Tosca, the return of Metropolitan Opera, soprano Cecilia Violetta López to Opera Orlando to appear as Frida Kahlo in Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s Frida, and internationally acclaimed soprano and recording artist Marnie Breckenridge in her Company debut as Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor.

“We truly cannot thank our partners, our singers, our patrons, donors, our dedicated board of directors, our staff, volunteers, all of our friends enough for their amazing support over the past seven seasons,” said Gabriel Preisser. “We could not do it without all of them and, as our company, our city, and our community continue to grow, I know the best is still to come.”


See YOU at the Opera!




About Opera Orlando:     Celebrating, expanding, and sharing the world’s greatest art form,  the 2023-24 season marks Opera Orlando’s eighth season producing high-quality operatic entertainment and educational programs that engage Central Florida audiences.


Stay up to date with Opera Orlando’s season online at, and follow and like the Opera’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter accounts to share in all the Company has planned for 2023-24.


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