Since 1977, Eugene Opera has presented professional opera in western Oregon, staging many of the world’s best-known operas and some of the best new operatic works.
In 1976, Artistic Director Philip Bayles and over 100 volunteer musicians, singers, stagehands and opera fans combined their efforts to bring opera to Eugene, Oregon. The first production Carmen played to a “full house” of 600 attendees in a local high school auditorium. A local newspaper reporter remarked, “It’s a first effort to be proud of, for it has proven that Eugene is loaded with high-quality musicians and opera-hungry concertgoers.”
In 1982, Eugene Opera became a resident company in the newly opened Hult Center for the Performing Arts. It endured its share of hard times, however, during the early 1990s, when its debt exceeded $340,000. Sound business practices and increased community support eliminated the debt within five years.
Eugene Opera has been profiled nationally on National Public Radio and in Opera News, and enjoyed a cameo appearance by humorist Dave Barry in his only operatic role. In recent years it has also received favorable notice for its productions of modern operas.
Eugene Opera helped launch the careers of such current opera stars as Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Stephen Mark Brown, Kelley Nassief, Gregory Turay, Lucas Meacham, and Joelle Harvey. Today’s productions regularly feature stars from great opera houses worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera. They also continue to feature emerging stars, particularly those from the Pacific Northwest.
Eugene Opera has regularly conducted educational outreach programs that bring opera to students and classrooms throughout the surrounding Lane County area. Currently, it introduces high school students to opera through the Eugene Opera Academy.
In 2015-16, Eugene Opera expanded its season from two to four operas, including two mainstage operas and two chamber operas. The chamber operas proved both popular and artistically successful, receiving high praise both in local reviews and in Opera News.
The 2016-17 season, our 40th anniversary year, was originally scheduled to include four productions again, two mainstage and two chamber operas. However, financial issues led to the cancellation of the second half of the season. Eugene Opera supporters rallied to save the company. As a result, Eugene Opera was able to retire all of its debts before the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, and to schedule a two-production season for 2017-18.
1977 — Carmen
1977-78 — The Maid as Mistress, HMS Pinafore, Don Giovanni
1978-79 — The Pirates of Penzance, The Barber of Seville
1979-80 — Rigoletto, Gianni Schicchi, The Impressario
1980-81 — The Mikado, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Pagliacci/Pulcinella
1981-82 — Patience, Così fan tutte, Madama Butterfly
1982-83 — La Bohème, Die Fledermaus, Don Pasquale, Yeoman of the Guard
1983-84 — Die Fledermaus, The Magic Flute, La Traviata
1984-85 — Faust, Cinderella, Tosca, The Pirates of Penzance
1985-86 — Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, Carmen
1986-87 — The Barber of Seville, The Merry Widow, The Medium, The Mikado
1987-88 — Tosca, The Daughter of the Regiment, Tartuffe, The Marriage of Figaro
1988-89 — La Bohème, The Elixir of Love, Così fan tutte
1989-90 — Cinderella, Gianni Schicchi, Pagliacci
1990-91 — The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly
1991-92 — Candide, Romeo and Juliette
1992-93 — The Impressario, The Telephone, The Face on the Barroom Floor
1993-94 — Cavalleria Rusticana, Tosca, HMS Pinafore
1994-95 — Gianni Schicchi, La Traviata, The Pirates of Penzance
1995-96 — Carmen, La Bohème, Trial by Jury
1996-97 — The Magic Flute, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Mikado
1997-98 — Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, Porgy and Bess
1998-99 — Madama Butterfly, Opera Under the Stars, The Barber of Seville
1999-00 — Aida, Le nozze di Figaro, Turandot
2000-01 — La Cenerentola, Così fan tutte, The Mikado
2001-02 — Tosca, La Traviata, Susannah
2002-03 — Pagliacci, La Bohème
2003-04 — Carmen, HMS Pinafore
2004-05 — Die Fledermaus, Belle Voci Competition, Rigoletto
2005-06 — Belle Voci Competition, The Barber of Seville, Hansel and Gretel
2006-07 — The Pirates of Penzance
2007-08 — The Magic Flute, Madama Butterfly, The Art of the American Diva
2008-09 — Orpheus in the Underworld, Il Trovatore, Don Giovanni
2009-10 — Le nozze di Figaro, Faust
2010-11 — La Boheme, The Mikado
2011-12 — Carmen, Nixon in China
2012-13 — The Pirates of Penzance, Dead Man Walking
2013-14 — La Traviata, The Girl of the Golden West
2014-15 — The Elixir of Love, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
2015-16 — The Turn of the Screw, Lucia di Lammermoor, Eugene Onegin, Little Women
2016-17 — Much Ado About Nothing (Béatrice et Bénédict); Opera Trio: Aida (Act 1), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Act 3), Die Fledermaus (Act 2)
2017-18 — The Barber of Seville, María de Buenos Aires