San Antonio Opera owes its genesis to two men in two very different eras. The first, Max Reiter, was an Italian Jewish symphony conductor who fled his native country with $40 as World War II neared. Finding New York packed with other conductors in similar straits, he found fertile soil in Texas and established the San Antonio Symphony in 1939.
Six years later Reiter founded the springtime San Antonio Symphony Grand Opera Festival as an extension of the symphony season. The festival attracted many of the biggest names as it produced four operas every season. Unfortunately, the program was canceled in 1983.
In 1997, entrepreneur Mark Richter—a well-known local tenor soloist—plunked down $5,000 of his own money to establish the Pocket Opera of San Antonio and became the fledging company’s artistic director. Buoyed by appearances by luminaries such as Placido Domingo, Frederica von Stade and Andrea Bocelli, the company experienced steady growth. Today, now known as San Antonio Opera, the company produces three operas annually, with a budget exceeding $2,000,000.
Opera4Kids and ExtremeOpera present operatic works for elementary and high school students, while Sing, Act, Opera! is a two-week camp that culminates with production of a live work.
San Antonio Opera Information
- Venues: Municipal Auditorium, Lila Cockerell Theater
- Public Transportation: Varies depending on venue.
- Handicapped Accessibility: Varies depending on venue.
- Performance/Programs: Approximately 3 productions per season (3 performances of each production).
- Admission: Individual tickets vary ($30-135) depending on performance, date, and seating choice. $10 rush seats are available to students, seniors and military at the theater’s box office between 6-7 pm the evening of the performance.
- Group Discounts: Group discount of 20% applies to parties of 20 or more.
- Subscriptions: Subscriptions are available to two season performances, at a discount of up to 15%; discount varies depending on seating choice. Benefits include priority seating, reduced prices on additional tickets, and additional event invitations.