Annapolis Opera was founded in 1972 by a group of local artists who were connected to the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre Youth Group. In an effort to mount a production of Gian-Carlo Menotti's "The Medium," Martha Wright, then co-producer of children's musicals with the Tom Thumb Players at the old Plaza Movie Theater was contacted. She responded to the challenge, and not only agreed to produce the production, but to begin what has become the Annapolis Opera.
Annapolis Opera was formed and organized to develop and maintain a professional opera company of artistic excellence for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. It is intended to provide emerging artists of outstanding potential from the Mid-Atlantic region with performance and professional development activities. Annapolis Opera also provides an educational program which serves area residents from elementary school children to senior citizens. After the first 15 years, the Annapolis Opera initiated an Annual Vocal Competition that has provided a springboard for numerous young singers from the region who have gone on to outstanding careers. In recent years the Children’s Opera presented each year to local schools and families has expanded to be able to introduce children from Title I schools to the wonderful world of opera.
From the outset the Annapolis community supported the company. The U.S. Naval Academy and St. John's College initially offered performance space. When the company outgrew those spaces it moved to a local high school. When the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts was established in 1979 Annapolis Opera proudly became one of the resident companies, a relationship that continues today.
Annapolis Opera has benefited from the direction of Artistic Director, Ron Gretz, and Stage Director, Braxton Peters, who have headed the artistic staff for many years, providing artistic continuity and integrity.
Annapolis Opera also has benefited from the service of many community leaders as members and officers of the Board of Trustees. The Presidencies of Martha Wright, Dean Johnson, Col. Harry and Thea Lindauer, Anna Marie Darlington, Jean Jackson, Dr. Dennis Monk, Dr. Gregory Stiverson and Leah Solat carried Annapolis Opera to its current position. Several Mayors of Annapolis have served on the Board of Trustees. Members of the Board of Trustees include retired leaders of government and business, educators, retired opera singers...people from all walks of life who share a love of opera.
Annapolis Opera enjoys the support of several agencies, including the Arts Council of Anne Arundle County and the Maryland State Arts Council. However, the greatest support comes from individual and corporate donors who believe in the mission of Annapolis Opera.