Nevada Opera, based in Reno, is the oldest professional performing arts organization in Nevada. It was founded in 1968 by Ted and Deena Puffer, who gave the organization a solid foundation and trained many talented artists. The opera has produced over 140 operas, operettas, and musicals over the years, and translations by the Puffers are regularly in use today.
Each season Nevada Opera presents up to three fully-staged or semi-staged operas using guest artists from around the country and the local Nevada Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The opera's last several seasons have included performances of The Mikado, La Traviata, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Barber of Seville, The Circus Princess, La Bohème, Carmen, H.M.S. Pinafore, and a concert of opera favorites by Hope Briggs and the Nevada Opera Chorus.
Nevada Opera's current artistic director is Michael Borowitz, who has been with the organization since 2003. Mr. Borowitz holds music degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has studied extensively at the Istituto Donizettiano in Bergamo, Italy. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Ohio Light Opera, and Cleveland Concert Opera, and served as guest conductor with many other musical organizations.
Nevada Opera has a strong focus on training young artists, and in 2005 revived their Nevada Opera Youth Chorus, which offers voice training to students in grades 3 through 12. Well-known singers who got their start with Nevada Opera include Dolora Zajick, considered one of the world's great dramatic mezzo-sopranos, Evelyn De La Rosa, John Ames, Monica Harte, and John Baril.
The opera also believes strongly in outreach and education for the community at large, and produces informal summer outdoor concerts as an introduction to the world of opera, provides speakers to organizations, sponsors pre-performance talks by Mr. Borowitz, and provides free dress rehearsal tickets to middle and high school groups and senior citizens. They also have a "first time" section on their website that explains what to expect and answers common questions for first-time opera goers.
Nevada Opera has a small staff and is governed by a board of directors. There is an active Nevada Opera Guild, whose members work to engage the community in opera activities and promote educational programs. The organization's mission is "to Educate, Enlighten, Enrich and Entertain through the performance of live opera."