About Us

We believe in the transformative power of live opera.

The oldest performing arts organization in Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Opera is a professional opera company that has provided South Florida with the power of live opera for over 60 years. Palm Beach Opera presents a variety of cultural programs from December through April each season, including world-class opera performances at the Kravis Center, rigorous artist training programs for emerging professional opera singers, and impactful education and community engagement programs.

Palm Beach Opera’s mainstage productions feature internationally renowned artists from around the world, immersive set and costume design, and the acclaimed Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and Palm Beach Opera Chorus. As part of its mission to inspire life-long interest in the arts and train the next generation of opera stars, Palm Beach Opera also provides free opera education programs for learners of all ages and competitive artist training programs. From its free program for high school students to its intense curriculum designed for experienced singers on the brink of stardom, PBO’s artist training programs nurture new opera talent at every level. Graduates of PBO’s distinguished artist training programs have gone on to sing at some of the world’s most notable opera houses.

Our Mission

Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence, enriching the lives of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs, and to training the next generation of opera stars. Founded in 1961, the fully professional Palm Beach Opera presents main stage performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and is a proud member of OPERA America and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach Opera has vaulted into the first rank of American opera companies and attracted considerable international attention as the first company in the pandemic era in North America to forge ahead with a full-length live opera.
— The New Criterion

Our History

Palm Beach Opera was founded in the summer of 1961 as the Civic Opera of the Palm Beaches by Isabel Chatfield, Charlotte Miller, Rosita Franks, Princess Jane Obolensky, Octavia Could, Alberta Grant and Thelma Miller. On January 29, 1962 at the Palm Beach High School Auditorium, the organization presented its first-ever production–La traviata–to a sold-out audience of 1,200 with a live chorus and 26-piece orchestra. Even in its early years, the Civic Opera of the Palm Beaches—which became Palm Beach Opera in the 80s—attracted international stars like Beverly Sills and Robert Merrill.

Over the years, the company has been led by esteemed conductors and artistic directors and has presented some of the world’s most famous performers, including opera icons Luciano Pavarotti, Roberta Peters, Plácido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Sondra Radvanovsky, and Matthew Polenzani among others. For more than 60 years, Palm Beach Opera has provided the magic of live opera to South Florida and has shown resilience, strength, and unwavering commitment even in the face of unprecedented challenges.

In February of 2021, after the historic cancellation of its final mainstage production of Eugene Onegin in 2020 due to the Coronavirus, Palm Beach Opera presented its first-ever outdoor opera festival, representing the nation’s first large-scale presentation of live opera since the onset of the pandemic. Featuring Metropolitan Opera stars Isabel Leonard, Latonia Moore, Ana María Martínez, Janai Brugger, Kathryn Lewek, Michael Fabiano, Quinn Kelsey, Joshua Hopkins, Peixin Chin, Michael Chioldi, Ryan Speedo Green, and Matthew Polenzan, the groundbreaking festival was celebrated as a “courageous winter operatic feast” by South Florida Classical Review, “breathtakingly beautiful” by Palm Beach Daily News, and “the centerpiece of this year’s season” by WLRN.

Today, Palm Beach Opera continues to build on its legacy with competitive artist training programs, its esteemed orchestra and chorus, free education and community programs, and leading operatic talent from around the world.

Meet PBO’s General & Artistic Director

Explore more PBO history