Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera produces diverse, culturally engaging experiences in the theater and the community. The company preserves the art form by cultivating the next generation of opera audiences and singers. As Florida’s oldest performing arts organization, FGO presents a thrilling blend of world-class stars and rising talent in a harmonious blend of popular masterpieces and innovative contemporary works.
Florida Grand Opera burst onto the stage in 1994 through the merger of Greater Miami Opera (founded in 1941) and The Opera Guild Inc. of Fort Lauderdale (founded in 1945). Nicknamed “The Met South” by the many distinguished artists who have graced its stage, FGO continues a tradition of presenting world-class stars teamed with the best rising and undiscovered talent that opera has to offer, performing a harmonious blend of traditional masterpieces and innovative contemporary works. The internationally recognized Studio Artists Program offers emerging artists the opportunity to perform principal and comprimario roles alongside FGO’s roster of acclaimed directors, conductors and musicians. The company also presents concerts and a touring children’s opera throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties. FGO offers a wide variety of educational and outreach programs, including dress rehearsal visits for schoolchildren.
- The great tenor Luciano Pavarotti famously made his American debut here in 1965 in Lucia di Lammermoor, opposite his future frequent stage partner soprano Joan Sutherland.
- FGO’s world premieres include David Carlson’s Anna Karenina, with libretto by Colin Graham, in 2007; 1997’s Balseros by Robert Ashley with libretto by world-renowned Cuban writer María Irene Fornés; and Robert Ward’s Minutes Till Midnight in 1982.
- S. premieres include Gioacchino Rossini’s Bianca e Falliero and the final revised version of Alberto Franchetti’s Cristoforo Colombo.
- The many internationally acclaimed artists who have appeared at FGO include: Robert Merrill, Dorothy Kirsten, Richard Tucker, Renata Tebaldi, Roberta Peters, Franco Corelli, Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballé, Jon Vickers, Sherrill Milnes, Nicolai Gedda, Birgit Nilsson, Anna Moffo, Plácido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland, Evelyn Lear, James Morris, Thomas Stewart, Diana Soviero, Justino Diaz, Simon Estes, Elizabeth Futral, Helen Donath, Deborah Voigt, Lauren Flanigan and Fernando de la Mora.
Susan T. Danis has served as general director and CEO of Florida Grand Opera since October 2012. During her tenure, FGO has produced award-winning education and engagement programs, including a season of all-American opera during the winter of 2021 in the midst of the pandemic. She has produced internationally acclaimed operas such as Norma, The Passenger, Florencia en el Amazonas and Before Night Falls. She instituted the Made for Miami series to present works designed to connect with South Florida’s rich and diverse communities. Company premieres in this series include Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s The Passenger, Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls, Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas and Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s Frida.
Danis served as executive director of Sarasota Opera for 12 years and as general director of the Lake George Opera Festival (now known as Opera Saratoga) for eight years. She also served on the affiliate Board of Directors for Fifth Third Bank; as chairman of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau; on the Board of Trustees of OPERA America (where she was treasurer for three years); as an Advisory Board member of the Shoshana Foundation; an emeritus board member of the Sarasota Music Archive; as a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Junior League; and as a board member of the Sarasota County Cultural Alliance and The New Gate School of Sarasota. She has served as a panelist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
Her honors include the 2023 Citizens Interested in Arts Champion of the Arts Award, the 2010 Florida Trust for Historic Preservations Award for Outstanding Achievement in Restoration/Rehabilitation and the 2008 She Knows Where She Is Going Award from Girls, Inc.
Under Danis’ leadership, Florida Grand Opera is celebrating its 82nd season. It continues to thrive under her artistic vision, which includes the championship of contemporary and neglected masterpieces that resonate with South Florida audiences, while growing the opera’s reputation for excellence via its competitive and sought-after Studio Artists Program as well as its world-class mainstage performances. In 2023-24, Danis leads the company in a season of grand, classic gems beloved to Miami audiences, including La traviata, I pagliacci and La bohème.