The Company


Breaking the boundaries of opera to create exceptional experiences for audiences everywhere. 



About The Company

The Atlanta Opera’s mission is to break the boundaries of opera to create exceptional experiences for audiences everywhere.

Founded in 1979, The Atlanta Opera has celebrated opera for over 40 years. The Opera works with acclaimed singers, conductors, directors, and designers to present world-class productions. Recently reaching the status of a Budget One company, as designated by Opera America, The Atlanta Opera is now one of the top 10 companies in the U.S.

Under the leadership of Tomer Zvulun, internationally-recognized stage director and the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director, The Atlanta Opera presents mainstage productions at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and the acclaimed Discoveries series at locations throughout the Atlanta metro. In recent years, the company was recognized by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as part of its “Best of 2015” awards; it was nominated for an International Opera Award in 2016 and 2023; and won ArtsATL’s 2019 Luminary Award for Community Engagement, recognizing its successful Veterans Ticket Program in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation.

In addition, The Opera was featured in a 2018 Harvard Business School case study about successful organizational growth, and Zvulun presented a TEDx Talk at Emory University entitled “The Ambidextrous Opera Company, or Opera in the Age of iPhones.”

One of the few companies to present during the 2020 pandemic lockdown, The Atlanta Opera offered a full season by offering performances under a circus tent in outdoor settings, fully compliant with health and safety protocols. The crisis also launched The Atlanta Opera Film Studio, resulting in the production and international distribution of both livestream opera performances and cinematic operas produced at the highest standards of the film industry.

The Atlanta Opera’s education and engagement activities reach students and adults throughout Georgia and the Southeast with an ever-growing impact. In addition, the 96-Hour Opera Project and Festival seeks to advance the industry by creating opportunities for under-recognized composers and librettists to advance their careers in opera with extensive support.

Our History

Atlanta’s taste for opera began in the early years of the 1900s with the Metropolitan Opera’s annual week-long tour to Atlanta. Performing at the Auditorium-Armory, the Fox Theatre, and finally the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, the Metropolitan Opera’s annual tour was a major social event. Every night of the week featured the performance of a different opera starring opera legends including Enrico Caruso, Leontyne Price, and later, Luciano Pavarotti. The audience included a who’s who of Atlantans, also drawing from cities throughout the Southeast, and was celebrated with posh parties at the Georgian Terrace, Piedmont Driving Club, and other upscale venues.

In 1979, the Atlanta Civic Opera was founded from a merger between two competing entities, Atlanta Lyric Opera and Georgia Opera. The first artistic director was noted composer Thomas Pasatieri. The company’s first production was The Seagull on Friday, March 14, 1980, at the Fox Theatre. The following December, a festive gala was held in Symphony Hall with such noted young artists as Catherine Malfitano, Jerry Hadley, and Samuel Ramey. In 1985, the company was renamed as The Atlanta Opera.

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Major Milestones



Rhys Wilson elected as Board Chair, and ArtsATL selects The Atlanta Opera as the 2019 Luminary Award recipient for the Veterans Program.

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Cathy Adams becomes Board Chair, and The Opera grows to four mainstage and two Discoveries series productions. The Opera establishes its first-ever young artist program, The Atlanta Opera Studio, which includes four singers, a stage director, and pianist.



The groundbreaking Discoveries series launches with Three Decembers. The production is named a “Best of Atlanta 2015” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Tomer Zvulun is appointed as the Atlanta Opera’s new General & Artistic Director. Walter Huff, the company’s acclaimed Chorus Master, celebrates 25 years with The Atlanta Opera. The Atlanta Opera receives a $9 million bequest from longtime board member Barbara D. Stewart.

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The Atlanta Opera Chorus performs at the Opera-Comique in Paris, in Granada and Cannes in a production of Porgy and Bess.



As the first resident company of Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, The Atlanta Opera opens the 2007-2008 season with an acclaimed production of Turandot.



Dennis Hanthorn takes on the role of General Director, while The Atlanta Opera celebrates its 25th anniversary as an opera company.



Atlanta Opera opens its 2003-04 season with AIDA at the 4,591-seat Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.



The Atlanta Opera hosts the 31st Annual OPERA America Conference.



The Atlanta Opera hits $1 million mark in ticket sales for a single season.



The Atlanta Opera moves to the 4,518-seat Fox Theatre – the largest indoor venue for opera in the U.S. Faust is the debut production in the new home. Alfred Kennedy is appointed as the company’s Executive Director; serving in this role until he retired in 2004.



The Atlanta Opera moves to the 1,748-seat Symphony Hall.



Alfred Kennedy named as General Manager, serving in this role until 1995.



The Atlanta Opera appoints William Fred Scott as Artistic Advisor, he later becomes the company’s Artistic Director.



Alfred Kennedy is appointed President of the Board of Directors of The Atlanta Civic Opera Association.



Internal Revenue Service grants The Atlanta Civic Opera its 501(c)(3) status and the company officially begins. A few years later, it becomes The Atlanta Opera.