Established in 1988 by a group of local opera lovers, the Vero Beach Opera Guild (VBOG) offered concerts using outstanding community talent.
The VBOG was reorganized in 2003 with a new Board who supported a more professional platform to produce and present grand opera.
In 2006, the VBOG became Vero Beach Opera, Inc. (VBO) with an all-volunteer “working” Board of Directors committed to our mission. As our reputation grew and its support grew stronger, the mission of VBO, while remaining true to its founding purpose, evolved into a professionally-oriented performing company which has attracted major opera stars such as Metropolitan Opera stars Paul Plishka, Deborah Voigt and Marcello Giordani. Few communities of our size offer such a broad selection of cultural arts, and people are surprised to learn that there is an opera company here which offers professional performances by world-class opera stars.
Metropolitan Opera soprano Deborah Voigt first performed for Vero Beach Opera in 2004 in our Love Concert and continues to please adoring audiences. In 2007, Ms. Voigt joined with VBO to found the Deborah Voigt / Vero Beach Opera Foundation under whose auspices she mentors young opera singers and gives encouragement awards to young singers who compete in international vocal competitions. Ms. Voigt held the 1st DV/VBO Foundation International Vocal Competition during the 2016 Opera Season, and the 2nd Annual Competition in 2018.
Metropolitan Opera tenor Marcello Giordani first performed for Vero Beach Opera in 2008, and through our affiliation with him, he has held his Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competitions here since 2013. These Competitions have attracted singers from around the world while bringing world-class recognition to VBO. He returns again in 2019 for his Master Class and Rising Stars Vocal Competition.
Metropolitan Opera basso Paul Plishka, who has the distinction of performing at The Met for forty-six years and 1,642 performances, placing him at number 10 on their official list of most-frequent performers, which dates back to the company's inception in 1883, performed in VBO’s Don Pasquale in 2009. VBO gave Mr. Plishka a Lifetime Achievement Award upon his retirement from The Met in 2012.
Vero Beach Opera continues to grow and expand its programs within the community. VBO partnered with the Vero Beach Museum of Art from 1989 to 2018, offering Opera Studies adult education programs each year. This program grew steadily, and both the Museum and VBO experienced increases in attendance and memberships. VBO has partnered with our local Majestic Theater since 2008 to bring The Met Opera Live in HD simulcasts here resulting in a new awareness of opera which has increased attendance and revenue at both of our venues. In 2018, VBO hosted a special event at Majestic: The Story of America Opera Legend- Tenor Richard Tucker. The presentation was narrated by Tucker's official biographer, James A. Drake, PhD, and Tucker's son, David N. Tucker, MD, and included many rare video clips of Richard Tucker's performances.
Our Community Outreach Program promotes a greater awareness of VBO, its mission, and its commitment to our community. It encourages participation in our events and activities by presenting informative programs and distributing opera season brochures and membership forms to residential communities and businesses.
Our Homestay Program involves community members who provide housing accommodations to artists and Competition judges which spares VBO the expense of expensive hotel rooms during our “winter” season.
Vero Beach Opera has a Scholarship Program which includes a Vocal Scholarship awarded each year to a college-bound Indian River County high school student or to a college student majoring in Vocal Arts/Performance or Music Education, and Piano Scholarships for students with talent, commitment and financial need to study with Dr. Marcos Flores, a highly regarded concert pianist with over 25 years of teaching experience.
The future is looking very bright! During 2015, a decision by the VBO Board of Directors was made to assure continuity of leadership for each succeeding season by contracting a Music Director and a Stage Director. In 2016, Metropolitan Opera soprano Deborah Voigt was named as Vero Beach Opera’s Artistic Advisor. In June 2015, VBO applied for and was approved for a State of Florida Cultural Arts Grant to expand its season to include an additional opera during 2017. VBO is supported not only by loyal passionate opera “aficionados” but also by the establishment of the Vero Beach Opera Endowment Fund funded by Tommy and Simonetta Steyer through the Indian River Community Foundation.
The best is yet to come!