Cleveland Opera Theater History

Where We’ve Been

Cleveland Opera Theater was founded in 2006 as Opera Per Tutti by former Executive Director Andrea Anelli on the belief that people from all backgrounds and socio-economic status, if given the opportunity, would be moved by the unique beauty and transformative qualities of opera.


Since then, Cleveland Opera Theater has produced more than 50 professional productions of varying scope in the Greater Cleveland area, presenting innovative productions and engaging educational outreach programs, which foster groundbreaking interdisciplinary artistic collaborations and partnerships with community organizations, singing actors, instrumental musicians, dancers, actors, composers and other artists in the Greater Cleveland area.   Cleveland Opera Theater first collaborated with Cleveland Public Theatre on a co-production of Puccini’s Il Tabarro in October 2010, and followed up this critically acclaimed production with Maguerite, a world-premiere adaptation of Gounod's Faust in 2011.  


Cleveland Opera Theater relocated company headquarters to the Gordon Square Arts District in 2012 as the Professional Opera Company in Residence at the Cleveland Public Theatre.  Cleveland Opera Theater further contributed to the Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood's renaissance through the arts, broadening the scope and richness of the community’s cultural identity to include the art form of Opera Theater.   As the Professional Opera Company in Residence at Cleveland Public Theatre Cleveland Opera Theater presented co-productions of operatic classics such as Amahl and the Night Visitors, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, and La Rondine, in addition to devised works such as Unplugged, Portrait of a Diva, Letters from Mary Stuart, vol libeté, and Fiesta!, and new works featuring the new vampire opera Clarimonde in residence at CPT.  


In addition to numerous co-productions in residence at the CPT, Cleveland Opera Theater has served as the lead partner in numerous collaborative productions including the first opera production (La bohème) in the newly constructed Breen Center for the Performing Arts at St. Ignatius High School with the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra, and established an annual production to benefit the City Mission Cleveland and Dream Days organizations, and an annual production of light opera in collaboration with the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and Chagrin Studio Orchestra including favorites such as Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Pirates of Penzance.         


Cleveland Opera Theater relocated company headquarters to MidTown Cleveland in 2015.  Cleveland Opera Theater  has formed a partnership with MidTown Inc. and also The Cleveland Masonic Auditorium, located in MidTown, presenting the spring 2015 main stage production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca in the historic venue, which is renowned as being one of the most acoustically perfect venues in the world for the performance of live classical music. The Masonic Auditorium will be the home for all main stage productions for the foreseeable future. This production of Tosca also featured the flagship collaboration with the ICAN Schools Network, in which Cleveland Opera Theater artists worked with University of Cleveland Prep School ICAN Scholars both in the school facilities and at the Masonic Auditorium. The process culminated in the ICAN scholars being featured in the children's chorus of the production. The scholars' families, friends and members of the community were provided with free tickets to the performances.            


Cleveland Opera Theater is acting as the lead partner in a conglomeration of arts organizations working in collaboration with MidTown Inc. and the Masons to restore the Masonic Auditorium to its former and rightful glory.  Located in MidTown Cleveland, this historic venue boasts one of the finest acoustics for live un-amplified sound in the world. It was the location of numerous famous recordings made by the Cleveland Orchestra and utilized by recording companies such a Decca and Deutsche Grammophon.  This restoration and development will create a home for arts and culture, and community outreach and education programs in the MidTown corridor with Opera as the centerpiece.


Accessibility to Cleveland Opera Theater performances and other arts and culture performances and programming will be further enhanced by the central location of the Masonic Auditorium in MidTown, which is within walking distance of Downtown, Playhouse Square, Cleveland State University, the University of Cleveland Prep School, surrounding neighborhoods and businesses. The location is easily accessible just minutes from the interstate system, the Cleveland Clinic and University Circle, and and through Cleveland Opera Theater’s developing partnership with the Greater Cleveland RTA whose sponsorship will provide increased access to mainstage performances via the healthline, which has two bus stops adjacent to the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium.  More than 3,000 ticket buying audience members, and more than 1000 audience members granted free tickets are expected to attend each production at the venue at the center of arts-based community developments in MidTown Cleveland.  



Where We’re Going!


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Cleveland Opera Theater
5000 Euclid Avenue, #1001
Cleveland, Ohio  44103      

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