Orlando Opera Company (Orlando, FL)

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Male actor in the role of Dr. Dulcamara addressing a crowd of actors dressed as the townspeople in the opera production

Dr. Dulcamara (Rod Nelman) arrives in the village and peddles a magic elixir to townsfolk in the Orlando Opera Company’s production of L’Elisir d’Amore. Photo by Tony Firriolo

Bringing people to the opera is much easier than bringing opera to the people. Moving sets, orchestras, and large casts throughout the hinterland makes mounting a touring opera production a difficult proposition. The Orlando Opera Company, however, is dedicated to doing just that.

Since 1994, Orlando Opera has been on the Florida State Touring Program, through which the company has visited 39 of Florida’s 67 counties, bringing affordable presentations to audiences with limited exposure to live opera and musical theater, including those areas underserved by the arts. In FY 2006, Orlando Opera received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $15,000 to support an expansion of its touring program.

The expansion included the addition of a full-scale production of L’Elisir d’Amore—previously produced for the company’s mainstage series—to its touring schedule. The company performed L’Elisir d’Amore for nearly 1,500 patrons at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

Orlando Opera also added smallerscale productions, including inschool performances, with piano accompaniment to its touring agenda. Suitable for all age groups, these productions included Introduction to Zarzuela; Opera Extravaganza, a revue of opera, operetta, and Broadway selections; a midsized production of The Marriage of Figaro; and an abridged version of Hansel and Gretel, which incorporated local teachers and students at each site into the performance. The in-school performances took place at 56 schools from September 2005 to May 2006 and benefited more than 17,000 students. Figaro toured to Vero Beach, Florida, for two performances in March 2006, which benefited 650 youth and adults.

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)