Recent News & Press

MAR 26 2019

Art imitates life … or is it the other way around? The astonishing parallels between composer and main character in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’

Truth, it is said, is stranger than fiction. In the spring of 1877, Tchaikovsky got a sort of “fan letter” from Antonina Milyukova, a former music student he barely remembered. Within the same month, a friend introduced him to Eugene Onegin,...

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MAR 26 2019

Pop goes Onegin! The opera-based-on-a-novel has found its way into pop culture

The title character in Eugene Onegin is a rich, world-weary dandy who’s bored with life. It’s an archetype that appears frequently in movies (The Thomas Crown Affair, Megamind, The Talented Mr. Ripley) and literature (again, Patricia Highsmith...

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MAR 26 2019

Q&A with Alexey Lavrov- Our genuine Russian Onegin is, in fact, nothing like the character he plays

Baritone Alexey Lavrov, a native of the Komi Republic of Russia, will perform with Opera Carolina for the second time when he returns to play the title role in Eugene Onegin (May 9, 11 and 12). He previously played both Silvio and Aleko in the doubl...

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MAR 26 2019

The story behind the story: Eugene Onegin, the opera, is based on an Alexander Pushkin novel

Russians know Eugene Onegin the way Americans know Huckleberry Finn. Just as Huck exists on the page and on the stage and screen, so does Onegin. Tchaikovsky’s lyric opera Eugene Onegin, debuted in Moscow in 1879 to an audience likely already fami...

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MAR 26 2019

Q&A with Melinda Whittington -The Charlotte resident talks about playing Tatyana and being a new mom

Charlottean Melinda Whittington returns to her “home stage” to play the female lead in Eugene Onegin. She previously sang the Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. She’s also played Juliett...

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JAN 22 2019

Mini interviews with the Carmen artists at Opera Carolina

The excellent Opera Carolina is currently presenting a run of Carmen, and Opera Lively briefly interviewed the four main singers. Consult for tickets and more information.  Questions by Luiz Gazzola. Copy...

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JAN 21 2019

REPEATS 1/24: Slow to Ignite, Opera Carolina’s New Carmen Ultimately Sizzles, Sparked by a Spitfire Soprano

The relationship between Opera Carolina and Carmen is very much like the pivotal relationship Georges Bizet's masterpiece depicts between Corporal Don José and the wily, seductive, dancing, smuggling, freedom-loving cigarette gi...

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JAN 21 2019

La ópera Carmen regresa a Charlotte con la fuerza de un clásico y un toque español

Un clásico de la ópera y todo un ícono feminista Carmen, regresa a los escenarios de Charlotte con una vistosa producción de Opera Carolina. Carmen es una obra dramática ofrecida en cuatro actos con música del compositor francés...

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JAN 21 2019

The Soprano: Alyson Cambridge’s range paves way to ‘Carmen’ lead Singer lands top role in Opera Carolina production

Alyson Cambridge never expected to portray Carmen. George Bizet’s iconic opera of the same name features a score written for a mezzo-soprano. Cambridge did not foresee staring in the lead as a possibility, as she sings soprano. However, the evo...

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  • Cryano de Bergerac
  • Rigoletto
  • The Marriage of Figaro
  • I Dream

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Fast Facts About Opera Carolina


Founded in 1948 by the Charlotte Music Club as a small group of dedicated volunteers, who believed opera performances would enrich the community, and with a budget of $125, Opera Carolina has grown from these humble beginnings into the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of $2.8 million.

Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America, Inc., and receives funds from the Arts & Science Council/Charlotte-Mecklenburg, National Endowment for the Arts, and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Opera Carolina — a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

James Meena — General Director & Principal Conductor

Board of Directors

  • Co-Chair: Stephen Philipson, U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.
  • Co-Chair: Laura Philipson, Arts Advocate
  • Vice Chair: Afredo Gatto, The Hearst Corporation
  • Vice Chair: Beth E. Hansen, UTC Aerospace Systems
  • Vice Chair: Laura Meyer Wellman, Honorary Consul of France
  • Secretary: Daryl Hollnagel, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick
  • Treasurer: Mary Shelton Rose, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Assistant Treasurer: Charles T. Greer, GreerWalker, LLP
  • Immediate Past Co-Chair: Rob Engel, Wells Fargo Securities
  • Immediate Past Co-Chair: Mary Engel, Queens University of Charlotte


Bravo! Young Professionals
  • BRAVO! is Opera Carolina’s premier group for young professionals interested in exploring and enhancing their enjoyment of Charlotte’s vibrant performing arts scene.
  • Members enjoy an After-Party at Blue Restaurant & Bar (Saturday night performances), BRAVO! Members-Only events, and E-newsletters.
The Opera Guild of Charlotte
  • The Opera Guild has awarded over 149 Scholarships since it began its Scholarship Program in 1969.
  • The Opera Guild has donated more than $1 million dollars to Opera Carolina.
  • The Opera Guild supports the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for North Carolina and sponsors a Vocal Competition Scholarship Program at UNC Charlotte.


The mission of Opera Carolina is to elevate the quality of life throughout the region’s diverse communities through the presentation of excellent Opera and Education programs.


Opera Carolina is the largest and oldest opera company in the Carolinas, headquartered in Charlotte.

Annual audience (excluding broadcasts):
  • Grand Opera: 15,000+
  • Education programs: 40,000+ (NC, SC & GA counties)
  • 90% of the artists, technicians and administrators of Opera Carolina live in greater Charlotte.
  • Since 1971, Opera Carolina has been nationally recognized for its commitment to arts education.
  • 40% of the Opera audience travels from the outside of Mecklenburg County to attend performances.

Education & Outreach Programs

Opera Xpress
  • The 2017/18 touring production is The Billy Goats Gruff.
  • Learning Guides meet the National Common Core standards in Language Arts and Math, and NC Essential curriculum standards for History, Music, Theater, and more to help teachers and students prepare for Opera Xpress.
first Night at the Opera
  • Public, private, and home school students attend the final dress rehearsal for Opera Carolina main stage productions.
  • 1,500+ students attended in FY2016.
The Opera Carolina Academy
  • The Opera Carolina Academy provides professional instruction and training in classical singing, music drama, acting and movement with the region’s leading artists and teachers.
Master Classes
  • Master Classes and clinics with Opera Carolina principal artists and resident company members are available to regional high schools and universities throughout the Opera season. Check the ‘events’ tab for upcoming dates or send us a message to schedule one.

Media & Press Contact

Megan Miller
Director of Marketing