Sorg Opera Company (Middletown, OH)

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  <p>Actresses on a stage dressed in kimonos </p>

Sorg Opera of Middletown, Ohio performs Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, The Mikado, with members of New York's Gilbert and Sullivan Players, directed by Nelson Sheeley and orchestra conducted by Curtis Tucker. Photo by Tim Guth

Located between Cincinnati and Dayton in Middletown, Ohio, the Sorg Opera Company enriches the quality of life in the largely rural Miami Valley area through presenting opera productions. The opera company performs at Sorg's Opera House, an historic theater built in 1891 by prominent Middletown citizen, industrialist Paul J. Sorg. In addition to performances, Sorg Opera has maintained several education and outreach programs, both in and out of schools.

In FY 2004, Sorg Opera received an NEA Challenge America grant of $10,000 to support the performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, The Mikado. Members of the Gilbert and Sullivan Players from New York joined the local cast and orchestra.

The work was performed October 15 and 16, 2004 as the opening of the company's 15th season, drawing the largest crowd in seven years. The company performed the operetta again on October 18 in Loveland, Ohio, attracting 400 audience members to the Monday evening performance. The Middletown performances were preceded by free preview lectures. In Loveland, cast members visited music classes at the local high school before the evening performance.

The Mikado, which remains one of the most popular Gilbert and Sullivan works, is set in Japan as it was opening to the West in the 19th century. The production was such a success for Sorg Opera that the company is considering whether to change its focus from grand, comic, and light opera to staging primarily light opera.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)