Founded in 1971 as the Tucson Opera, the company began performing in Phoenix within a few years and changed its name to Arizona Opera to reflect its scope as one of the nation’s few companies serving multiple cities.
The arrival of Glynn Ross as general director in 1983 was crucial. Ross, who introduced the Ring Cycle to the United States as a week-long festival (Richard Wagner’s own preference for his mammoth work) during his tenure at Seattle Opera, not only added the Ring to the Arizona repertoire but also brought the company out of debt.
Today Arizona Opera maintains a five-opera season, with three performances in Phoenix and a pair in Tucson. The selections generally come from the standard repertoire – Menotti’s The Consul, Weill’s The Threepenny Opera and Grétry’s Beauty & the Beast are notable recent exceptions—with a Gilbert and Sullivan work or concert of arias often serving as the fifth work.
The company maintains one of the nation’s widest-ranging educational programs. Besides school tours and lectures, the company offers Opera in a Box. Youngsters rummage through props and costumes, then generate their own mini-operas. The Arizona Opera Street Singers bring opera to the public in a variety of non-traditional spaces.
Arizona Opera Information
- Other Venue: The company’s season also plays at Tucson Music Hall (260 South Church Avenue, Tucson)
- Public Transportation: Very Good (a short walk from the Light Rail at 3rd Street/Washington Street, and 2 dozen bus lines at Central Avenue/Adams Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performance/Programs: On average, five productions are mounted each season from classical repertoire, with five performances of each
- Ticket Prices: Prices range from $16 for balcony seating all the way up to $100–$144 for premium orchestra seats
- Subscriptions: Phoenix – Full Season $115–$530; Three-Opera $96–$354. Tucson – Full Season $110–$445; Three-Opera $87–$327. 40 and Under (for people 40 years of age or younger in both Phoenix and Tucson) Three Operas for $120. Subscriber benefits include priority seating; discounts on additional tickets; ticket insurance; and the opportunity to purchase pre-paid parking passes.