Opera Carolina

Opera Carolina is a professional opera company in Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1948 by the Charlotte Music Club as the Charlotte Opera Association, the company was renamed Opera Carolina after its 1986 merger with North Carolina Opera which combined the main stage, educational, and touring operations of the two companies.[1] Its past leadership has included Artistic Directors Richard Marshall and Charles Rosekrans, and General Director James Wright. Since 2000, Opera Carolina has been under the direction of General Director and Principal Conductor James Meena.

Opera Carolina
PredecessorCharlotte Opera Association
Merger ofNorth Carolina Opera (1986)
ServicesProfessional opera company
Opera America, AFRP
General Director & Principal Conductor
James Meena
Director of Production
Michael Baumgarten
Chief Finance & Operations Officer
Vanessa Thorne
Director of Education & Community Programs
Ashley Johnson Lam
$2.9 million
The Opera Carolina Chorus, Opera Guild of Charlotte, Bravo! Young Professionals, Supernumeraries, and others
WebsiteOfficial website

Opera Carolina is a member of Opera America[2] and is supported by the Arts & Science Council,[3] the National Endowment for the Arts, and the North Carolina Arts Council.[4] Opera Carolina presents three main stage productions, featuring the Opera Carolina Chorus and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, in the Belk Theater in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Opera Carolina also presented an annual concert, Art • Poetry • Music, at the Knight Theater. Opera Carolina's season begins in October and runs until mid April.

Opera Carolina has remained solvent during the recession, which began in 2008, while other opera companies of similar size have closed their doors. The company has achieved this through discontinuing the Love Notes concert, reducing the season to three main productions, reduction in staff, and increased frugality in production costs. Also, Opera Carolina enjoys sustained corporate and private charitable support.[citation needed]

Opera Carolina was among the earliest performing arts companies to give live on-stage performances after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5]


  1. ^ Hamrick, Grace (18 July 1986). "Opera Carolina Celebrates Birth, New Name". The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, North Carolina. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  2. ^ Opera America[not specific enough to verify]
  3. ^ Local cultural groups win NEA grants By ASC Charlotte, December 12, 2013
  4. ^ North Carolina Arts Council[not specific enough to verify]
  5. ^ "Opera Carolina is the latest arts group to return to Charlotte stages amid COVID". The Charlotte Observer.

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