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Opera Companies in Los Angeles County

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, home of the Los Angeles Opera. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

Opera Location
Burbank Civic Light Opera Burbank
Casa Italiana Opera Co. Sherman Oaks (Los Angeles)
Desert Opera Theatre Palmdale
Guild Opera Co. Hollywood (Los Angeles)
The Industry Los Angeles
Long Beach Opera Long Beach
Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles)
Los Angeles Opera Los Angeles
Opera on Tap Los Angeles
Opera UCLA Los Angeles
Pacific Opera Project Los Angeles
Santa Monica Civic Light Opera Santa Monica
Southland Sings Duarte
Studio City Opera Studio City (Los Angeles)
Vineyard Touring Opera Co. Claremont

According to an article by Karen Bacellar for KCET, during the late 1800s, Los Angeles, like most American cities, was a backwater for opera. Whatever quality opera was experienced outside of New York and New Orleans came from opera companies that toured the nation. In October 1897, the Del Conti Italian Opera Company gave its American premier of the Puccini opera La Bohème in Los Angeles on a stopover enroute to San Francisco after a tour in Mexico. The performance was held at the Los Angeles Theatre, located at 227 South Spring Street (demolished 1941 and now a parking garage). Although only 532 people showed to fill the 1,400-seat theater for the performance, Los Angeles became a regular stop for subsequent touring opera companies. By 1924, less than three decades later, Los Angeles had its own opera company with the establishment of the Los Angeles Grand Opera Association.

The Los Angeles Theatre on Spring Street, Circa 1897
Los Angeles Theatre, circa 1897, facing north on Spring Street. It is the turreted building in the foreground. Photo by J.B. Blanchard & Co., courtesy of California State Library.

Although the Long Beach Opera, founded in 1979, is the oldest operating opera company in Los Angeles County, it was preceeded by the Los Angeles Grand Opera Association (1924-1934) and the Los Angeles Civic Grand Opera (1948 through its last locally produced performance in 1967).

The Los Angeles Opera, founded in 1986, is the fourth largest opera company in the nation.

Among the distinguished artists nurtured by the L.A. Opera who have gone on to enjoy national recognition are Richard Bernstein, Greg Fedderly, Rodney Gilfry, Suzanna Guzman, and Paula Rasmussen.

Opera singer, television personality and native daughter Susanna Guzman had aspired to be an actress and rock singer prior to her career in opera.