Arts / Performing Arts

Fort Worth Opera Makes a Dramatic Change for its 75th Anniversary Season

Year-Round Opera is Back With a Showy New Lineup

BY // 07.14.21

Founded in 1946, Fort Worth Opera is celebrating its landmark 75th anniversary season— with a big change. After 14 years of producing a nationally recognized festival in the springtime, the Fort Worth Opera will return to a year-round format. It’s an attempt to expand its presence and visibility in the growing North Texas arts scene.

Fort Worth Opera (FWO) revealed the lineup for its historic, new look 2021-2022 season Tuesday.

It all starts on October 9 with “Entre Amigos,” a celebratory concert at Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center for the Arts at the Rose Marine Theater. It will be the local highlight of Hispanic Heritage Month. Fans will also catch the spirit during subsequent pop-up “FWO GO” community concerts, which will be held throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “Entre Amigos” one night only performance will take place on Saturday, October 9th at 7 pm.

Mariachi Trio, Chapultepec, including Vincent Pequeño, William Carlton Galvez, and Israel Alcala will be on hand to celebrate Hispanic Heritage.

A starry fall preview concert will be held at Firestone and Robertson Distillery Co. ― Whiskey Ranch on November 6th at 6pm. But this will be anything but just another concert. There will be an open bar with craft cocktails and hors d’oeuvres catered by award-winning Fort Worth chef Juan Rodriguez, the owner of Magdalena’s and the star of the Food Network’s Chopped and Top Chef.

“Fort Worth and the world have changed a lot since 1947 when Fort Worth Opera began, but telling meaningful stories through great music and extraordinary voices is as powerful as ever,” Fort Worth Opera artistic director Joe Illick says. “For over 400 years, opera has forged ahead, broken old conventions, crossed boundaries and shown people what they look like at their best and their worst.

“We feel confident that the community will see themselves represented and reflected on our stages and feel empowered and inspired by our performances.”

River Oaks District

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Fort Worth Opera’s Winter to Remember

Fort Worth Opera’s winter begins with its annual partnership with the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas for the popular Holiday in the Garden in December. This is where the Lesley Resident Artists and members of FWO’s Studio Artists program perform holiday favorites on a stage in the parking lot between the botanic garden and the research center.

Expect a Christmas tree farm, an artisan market with food trucks, a visit from Santa Claus and holiday tea. Talk about delivering more than just a concert.

What can follow Santa Claus? How about Zorro. Yes, Zorro.

Héctor Armienta’s swashbuckling thriller starts the New Year at the Rose Marine Theater and Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium.

“Zorro” will ride again with two performances at the Rose Marine Theater on January 26 and 28, 2022, at 7 pm. A final show, in collaboration with the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo at Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, January 30 at 5:30 pm.

In a way, the opera is going home for this special rodeo team up. The historic, 85-year-old, 2,856 seat Will Rogers Auditorium served as the original home of the Fort Worth Opera for more than 4o years.



That world premiere will be followed by a revival of the company’s immensely successful Black History Month concert, A Night of Black Excellence, live at Fort Worth’s historic I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA on February 20, 2022, at 2 pm.

Spring Into Opera

Fort Worth Opera’s diamond jubilee is set to conclude with a Diamond Anniversary Gala on April 6th at 6 pm in the grand ballroom of the City Club Fort Worth with performances by three of opera’s hottest young stars, accompanied by FWO artistic director Joe Illick at the piano.

In a full-circle moment, FWO will reprise  Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” on the grand stage of Bass Performance Hall on April 22nd at 7 pm and April 24th at 2 pm, alongside the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Seventy five years ago, on November 25, 1946, Fort Worth Opera presented its first production — “La Traviata” — to a sold-out house at the Will Rogers.

Kenneth Overton takes to the stage in La Traviata. Photo courtesy of artist.

“Over the past year, Fort Worth Opera has redefined two things. First, what it means to be an opera company, and second, what it means to serve our community,” Fort Worth Opera general director Afton Battle says in a statement.

“Fort Worth Opera will return this upcoming season as The People’s Company ― focusing more on concerts and performances in the community and building strong relationships with other arts and civic organizations.”

Following “La Traviata,” Fort Worth Opera’s 75th anniversary season will finish in May of next year with the FWO Lesley Resident Artist Recital. Each year a handful of talented young artists are selected through a nationwide audition process to be a part of Fort Worth Opera’s prestigious Lesley Resident Artist Program. Tickets for this concert will go on sale in April of 2022.

“During this period while performing arts organizations have been on pause a lot has changed, but one thing remains the same — the people of Fort Worth can count on FWO to deliver the highest quality of the classical performing arts, both in Bass Hall and throughout our community,” Battle says.

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