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San Diego, California

San Diego Opera

San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Avenue

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With the city’s appetite for opera whetted by a WPA project during the 1930s, San Diego Opera was established in 1950 and thereby became Southern California’s oldest opera company. For 15 years its primary function was presenting San Francisco Opera productions. The opening of the San Diego Civic Center early in 1965 allowed the company to begin producing its own works. Within a decade it had expanded from a single opera to its customary five-production season (cut back to four recently, likely because of the bad economy), usually running from January to May. It had also produced a Ring Cycle, with one of the four operas each season.

Late in 2009, the company launched a unique project: narrating the history of opera from the late 1500s to the present day via Twitter, which could take years at the current rate of two daily tweets. A sample tidbit: “1607: All of the roles in Orfeo are played by men, even the female roles, sung by castrati. Ouch. Don’t think about it.”

The opera’s wide-ranging education program reaches nearly 100,000 people of all ages in the San Diego area and in northern Mexico. One highlight is the San Diego Opera Ensemble, a touring group of young singers which presents popular operas in abridged versions. The company recently launched Taste of Opera, which pairs dining and opera discussion in late summer and fall. It also offers cooking classes linked to the season’s upcoming operas.

San Diego Opera Information

  • Public Transportation: Excellent (steps from the Blue and Orange Lines at the Civic Center Station. A 2-minute walk from buses 3 and 120 at B Street/4th Avenue; buses 11, 30, 50, and 150 at C Street/1st Avenue; and from buses 2, 7, 15, 210, 810, 820, 850, 860, 901, 923, and 992 at Broadway/3rd Avenue)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good
  • Performances/Programs: Four–six productions per season with multiple performances of each
  • Ticket Prices: $30–$210. Student Rush tickets may be available
  • Group Discounts: Discounts available for groups of 10 or more
  • Subscriptions: Three-opera ($90–$630) and Four-opera ($120–$840) subscriptions available, with prices varying depending on seats selected. Senior subscription discounts available. Subscriber benefits include free ticket exchanges and special offers
  • Membership: Available from $100–$10,000+. Based on donation amount, member benefits include seat upgrades, event invites, dining certificates, program recognition, and Subscription Upgrade Points.