Seattle Opera 


For more than 50 years, donors like you have helped Seattle Opera share transformative experiences with our Pacific Northwest community. Your support of opera’s universal stories, soul-stirring music, and compelling drama enriches the lives of audiences around the Puget Sound and beyond.

Seattle Opera’s core values are:

  • Art matters
  • Professional integrity
  • Audacity
  • Appreciating the value of all who engage with the organization

These drive our artistic and community program initiatives and inform our long-term strategic plan. Since 2011, Seattle Opera has tripled service to the community beyond McCaw Hall, from 18,000 to 65,000 people; our outstanding performances and diverse community activities are intentionally designed to engage people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.

By making a gift today, you will bring opera alive for all, making a big impact on the community you care about. Our learning and engagement programs are critical to our mission of advancing the cultural life of Pacific Northwest residents. Your gift will foster the cognitive and personal growth of our community members and their children by broadening and deepening their access to arts experiences and education. Our community programs connect with opera newcomers and experts alike, deepening knowledge and facilitating a meaningful exchange of stories and ideas.


Mission Statement
Seattle Opera strives to produce musically extraordinary, theatrically compelling operas, employing uniformly high-quality casts, dramatically aware conductors, and innovative yet textually concerned directors and designers. By continuing our emphasis on the work of Richard Wagner and by achieving national and international recognition for the quality of all of our programming, Seattle Opera commits itself to advancing the cultural life of the Pacific Northwest through education and performance.
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Seattle Opera
1020 John Street 
(206) 389-7600 

Aidan Lang 
General Director 


Seattle Opera Programs

Your gift will help bring captivating operas to life at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Each season includes a variety of works, including:
  • Beloved Seattle Opera classics, like Puccini’s Tosca and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
  • All-new productions, like Handel’s Semele, that bring world-class talent like Stephanie Blythe to Seattle.
  • Rarely performed gems, like Verdi’s Nabucco, an early work that established Verdi’s reputation as a composer. In 2015/16, our production features Young Artists Program alumni Mary Elizabeth Williams, Russell Thomas, and Eric Neuville, returning to perform for the Seattle audiences that nurtured their growth.
  • The community-sourced opera, An American Dream, part of the Belonging(s) Project, in which Seattle Opera asked people in our community to answer the question, “If you had to leave your home tomorrow and could bring only one belonging with you, what would it be?” This opera was born from the stories we heard. An American Dream will have its world premiere in August 2015.
Opera Goes to School is our popular in-school program serving K-8 students, bringing the commissioned kid-friendly opera trilogy Our Earth into the classroom. Children love following the adventures of Heron and the Salmon Girl upriver from Puget Sound. Local teachers love the powerful intersection with science and arts curriculum. You can help support an Our Earth school performance or underwrite a full residency, giving students the opportunity to write their own operas, rehearse with teaching artists, and perform for their peers. Along with arts engagement, these residencies also serve K-2 and ESL students through their design to improve literacy and fluency.

Serving more than 9,000 students, Experience Opera provides opportunities for students to engage with an opera production from many angles through Scenic Studios and Costume Shop tours, free opera previews, and dress rehearsal attendance. For many children, it’s their first live performing arts experience.

Help us provide programs for community members of all ages, from students to seniors through our Speakers' Bureau Public Talks. These discussions deliver free talks exploring history, music, stagecraft, and story in venues across Puget Sound. They can prepare listeners for an upcoming performance or equally stand on their own as a fun, engaging experience. The talks take place in venues across the community, increasing access for individuals with limited ability to travel and facilitating meaningful exchange for opera lovers and opera newcomers alike. Venues include libraries, museums, and retirement communities. One such retirement community is Skyline, which features its own community program that Seattle Opera contributes to, called SkyOpera!

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

You have helped fuel an expansion of our in-school and extracurricular programs that connected more than 23,000 local children with opera during the 2013/14 season. This is a 104% increase over 2012/13! School programs feed children’s creativity and confidence. But demand is still outpacing what we can offer in order to help offset our state’s underfunded education system. Free and affordable programs from Seattle Opera are critical tools to build curriculum, reduce the opportunity gap, and increase engagement programs for students.

Our goal is to reach at least 200,000 children and adults through direct engagement programs by 2018. We uphold the vision of General Director Aidan Lang to share opera with the entire community through active engagement – today’s audiences have not only a desire to consumer, but to also create. By expanding our educational opportunities in classrooms and the community, we will provide a broad assortment of participatory and creative opportunities for people like you to deeply engage with opera and the arts in a variety of new ways.

An American Dream
The Belonging(s) Project began four years ago by collecting stories from you and members of our community about our most precious possessions. Now, with the help of donors like you, we’ve commissioned a new opera, An American Dream, inspired by these stories, set in the Pacific Northwest during World War II. This new opera, created by librettist Jessica Murphy Moo and composer Jack Perla, premieres on our mainstage in August 2015. Your gift today helps bring this opera about your time, your place, and your community to life.


The Seattle Opera is committed to providing high-quality opera performances for diverse audiences in King County. In addition to its mainstage programming, the company’s youth and adult education programs reach thousands of people from around Washington each year through in-school residencies and presentations, lectures, radio previews and broadcasts, community events and pre- and post-performance talks.

Best Practices
The Opera is using innovative technology strategies to engage a younger audience, such as podcasts, blogging and an expanded web presence to reach both existing subscribers and new segments of the population. They retooled their entire communication strategy to take into account new opportunities presented through technology and social media. High school programs have really taken to the opportunity to blog about dress rehearsal performances and school programs.

The organization has gradually grown in size and complexity in the many years since its inception. The economic situation has forced the organization to step back and evaluate its plan for the coming years. They will be experimenting with a model used successfully by other opera companies around the country in consolidating performances, but will re-analyze this each year. It has a well-qualified board and staff and has been making appropriate changes and cuts to position themselves through the economic recession.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
Staff are constantly evaluating ways to make the opera more accessible to the community- to remove the mystique without losing the magic. They utilize their web presence to give behind the scenes looks to the public, as well as provide open houses at McCaw Hall. Their BRAVO! Affinity group gives operagoers 21-40 a chance to experience opera for a reduced price, as well as providing social activities
Additionally, their education and community programming takes opera into schools and the community, working to make opera real and relevant for a diverse group of individuals. Their education programs are an opportunity for the organization to help kids discover a love of opera, and grow their future audiences.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

8/26/2014 $25,000.00to support general operating expenses.
9/10/2012 $25,000.00support general operating expenses.
6/10/2009 $28,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/22/2007 $40,000.00support the purchase and implementation of new accounting software.


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