We’re the area’s premier opera resource!
Whether you’re a performer at heart or a patron of the arts, Opera Wilmington invites you to be a part of our live performances and educational outreach programs. Dedicated to enhancing area awareness of the art form that is an operatic production, we provide audiences of all ages with the information and experience to cultivate true appreciation for the stage.
In addition to our productions, Opera Wilmington gathers together local youth and residents by offering summer camps and student scholarships, as well as community events throughout the year. Anyone can appreciate opera – they just have to know where to begin.
From live performances to lectures and children’s programs, Opera Wilmington does it all.
Founded in 2013 as the area’s only live, fully staged professional opera company, Opera Wilmington has become a cultural touchstone in the coastal Carolina region. Artistic Director Nancy King, along with a board of dedicated community supporters and devoted opera lovers, envisioned a dynamic company that would provide excellence in operatic performance and education, as well as inspire appreciation of the art form within the Wilmington community and surrounding areas.
To bring this vision to life, Nancy King (a voice/opera professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington) brought together a collaborative artistic team of fellow UNCW faculty members: Assistant Artistic Director and costume designer Mark Sorenson, scenic designer Max Lydy, conductor and chorus master Joe Hickman, stage director Frank Trimble, and choreographer Nancy Podrasky Carson.
Cast members include nationally emerging singers along with local talent and advanced UNCW students, and the Opera Wilmington Orchestra is composed of UNCW faculty and other professional musicians from across the state.
Our debut took place in the summer of 2014 with a sold-out production of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, which earned rave reviews and an outpouring of community enthusiasm.
Our Strategic Partnership
In March 2017, Opera Wilmington became the resident company of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Under this new partnership, our company provides research and creative opportunities for students and faculty in performance, design, and music history. In addition, UNCW and Opera Wilmington will collaborate to create new opera programs for people throughout southeastern North Carolina. The company receives administrative and marketing support from UNCW’s Office of the Arts, but maintains its independent board of directors and nonprofit status.
In celebration of this partnership, Opera Wilmington’s summer production of Carmen headlined UNCW’s brand-new Lumina Festival of the Arts.
Where to Find Us
The short answer is: everywhere! Opera Wilmington’s performance home is the Main Stage Theater at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Cultural Arts Building. That’s where we present our fully staged opera productions each summer.
Performances of arias and scenes throughout the year take place at various local venues, including local churches and restaurants, downtown Wilmington’s historic Thalian Hall, and Beckwith Recital Hall at UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building. Outreach concerts can be arranged at schools, community centers and private homes.
In June 2017 we debuted our Opera Camp, another collaborative effort with UNCW. Campers, who ranged from rising fifth- to rising ninth-graders, prepared for their roles in Carmen’s children’s chorus by honing their choral skills, designing an element of their costumes, and helping to paint the scenery.
With an enthusiastic reception its first year, Opera Camp promises to be a growing part of Opera Wilmington’s outreach efforts to new audiences.