Our Mission & History
“This midsize company has a welcome new tempo, new ambitions, and new capacities. It should be fascinating to see, as BLO approaches its 40th anniversary in 2017, where it goes from here.”
~ The Boston Globe, “Boston Lyric Opera renews its vision,” September 20, 2014
Both locally and beyond, Boston Lyric Opera leads the way in celebrating the art of the voice through innovative programming and community engagement initiatives that redefine the opera-going experience.
Now in its 40th season, BLO is the largest and longest-lived opera company in New England, with a mission to build curiosity, enthusiasm and support for opera by creating musically and theatrically compelling productions, events, and educational resources for the Boston community and beyond. Since its founding in 1976, the company has staged world premieres, U.S. premieres, co-productions and co-commissions of note with organizations such as The Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Scottish Opera, and continues to be a destination for some of the leading artists, conductors, directors and designers from around the world.
Under the vibrant leadership of Stanford Calderwood General & Artistic Director Esther Nelson, BLO’s productions have been described by Musical America magazine as “part of the national dialogue” because of their role as entry points for new audiences. The New York Times observed that BLO “clearly intends [its productions] to catch the interest of operagoers around the country.”
This view is shared by the nearly 25,000 people who experience BLO each year through dynamic performances, extensive partnerships with leading cultural organizations—like Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Boston Public Library—and programs throughout our vastly diverse and exuberant community.
BLO’s programming remains faithful to tradition while blazing new ground, building audiences, and creating new ways to enhance the opera-going experience. Artists in our Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists initiative work to hone their craft and prepare themselves for other world-leading stages. BLO’s wide-reaching education initiatives introduce opera to new audiences across generations.
Through your support and attendance, BLO employs nearly 350 artists and creative professionals annually—vocalists, artisans, stagehands, costumers, and scenic designers—many of whom are members of our own community. The Company is proud to play a significant and meaningful role in Boston’s vibrant arts community.