About Us

The Duluth Festival Opera is the first organization in northern Minnesota dedicated solely to the presentation of professional opera and musical theatre.

Opera lovers in the Arrowhead region have welcomed us: “The greatest concert I have ever attended in Duluth …You hit a home run with this great evening of opera…Yunah Lee’s Butterfly portrayal was the greatest single performance I have witnessed to date.” With affordable ticket prices, accessible programming, and performances of distinguished quality we have created enthusiasm among these regional opera patrons and introduced countless newcomers to this splendid art form. There is a developing and enthusiastic consensus among arts patrons and civic leaders that a prestigious Opera Festival will generate substantial new tourism, foster great civic pride, and enhance the Arrowhead region’s status as a cultural destination.

Critical reviews of our events in the Duluth News Tribune have been overwhelmingly positive: “A stunning concert…like buying a Rolex on a Target budget…quality greater than a community this size has a right to expect…the three featured tenors were all emotive, dynamic singers…If you missed out, now’s the time to dig out a hanky!” (Three Terrific Tenors!!!). No patron hesitated to stand in ovation…extraordinary…an embarrassment of riches…allures even the opera-averse…opera devotees should rush to purchase tickets” (Madama Butterfly).

We have developed creative partnerships with many local organizations, including the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, ZMC Hotels, Visit Duluth, North Shore Bank of Commerce, Out There Advertising, Duluth News Tribune, and Sacred Heart Music Center. More than one hundred individuals, dozens of businesses, and organizations such as the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, the Beim Foundation, and the Julia N. Marshall Gift Trust Fund have offered tangible support of our mission with more than $150,000 in contributions, sponsorships, and grants during the past two years. We recently sponsored performances of The Barber of Seville at three area schools. These child-friendly performances by Opera for the Young, an opera arts-in-education organization from Madison, WI, were enthusiastically received. Toward our third goal of regional recognition and widespread audience development, approximately 40% of the 1,600 patrons who attended Madame Butterfly traveled from outside of Duluth.

Duluth Festival Opera will present fully-staged opera, musical theatre, and opera-in-concert at a variety of Duluth’s unique indoor and outdoor theatre venues during the summer season. During the school year, the DFO will create and support educational music programs for students and culturally underserved citizens of the region.

Duluth Festival Opera will produce a summer Festival of theatrically vivid, musically inspiring opera and musical theatre with professional singers and artists of outstanding ability from around the country. The Festival’s productions will be drawn from a broad spectrum of old and new works, well-known and unfamiliar. These productions will be presented in a variety of beautiful venues and will appeal to a wide range of interests and tastes. The DFO will gradually expand the Festival’s offerings to include dance, chamber music, orchestra concerts, recitals, lectures, and other special events that will make the Festival a multi-faceted musical arts experience that will attract arts patrons from around the country. The Festival will be produced within a friendly, colorful atmosphere with support from local businesses, civic organizations, and local government to create a highly desirable cultural destination for the region’s summertime visitors.