About Tacoma Opera
The mission of Tacoma Opera is to inspire, educate and uplift our audiences in the Puget Sound region by presenting productions of high artistic quality using a combination of nationally known artists, local professionals and emerging young artists. We seek to heighten the awareness of the value of the arts and music in our community by providing dynamic opera productions and music education programs for diverse audiences.
Who We Are and What We Do
Tacoma Opera is a professional opera company that serves the city of Tacoma, the Puget Sound region and the entire Pacific Northwest. It specializes in presenting both traditional and non-traditional operatic productions in an intimate and atmospheric setting that allows the audience to experience opera in a uniquely personal way, touching the heart and stimulating the mind. Drawing from a pool of artists that are selected from across the country for an audience that stretches from Oregon to British Columbia, Tacoma Opera offers a unique experience for just about everyone.
Tacoma Opera was founded in 1968 as the Tacoma Opera Society and presented its first production, Die Fledermaus at the Eastvold Auditorium on the Pacific Lutheran University campus. In 1981, with the help of Dr. Hans Wolf, then director of community outreach for Seattle Opera, the company turned professional and changed its name to the Tacoma Opera Association. Wolf became the new director of the company and a production of Die Fledermaus was successfully staged that year. Under Wolf's leadership and along with the organizational guidance of long-time executive director, Anne Farrell, the company produced many operettas and grand operas over the next several years. The company also produced numerous premieres including the West Coast premiere of Offenbach's Christopher Columbus and the world premiere of a brand-new opera by Seattle composer Carol Sams' The Pied Piper of Hamelin among others. In the late 1990s, Wolf retired from his position and Rod Gideons became the new executive director of the company and David Bartholomew the artistic director. Kathryn Smith came to the company in 2003 as general director and served in that capacity until June of 2011 when she left the company to take a position as general director of Madison Opera in Madison, Wisconsin. Noel Koran is the current general director and comes to Tacoma Opera from a long background in opera, having been a singer, stage director, producer, educator and arts administrator in a career spanning over 30 years. Tacoma Opera has grown from a little-known company outside of Tacoma into a regional opera company attracting audiences from the entire Pacific Northwest.