Mission & History 2017-10-27T11:58:07+00:00

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


The mission of Boston Lyric Opera is 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.

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 41st Season, BLO is the largest and longest-lived opera company in New England. 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.

Repertoire History


Rigoletto, Verdi
Tosca, Puccini
Così Fan Tutte, Mozart
Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck*


Carmen, Bizet
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini
The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart
La Rondine, Puccini
Die Fledermaus, Strauss
The Barber of Seville, Rossini*


Don Carlos, Verdi
Resurrection, Machover
Don Pasquale, Donizetti
La Bohème, Puccini
Daughter of the Regiment, Donizetti*


Madama Butterfly, Puccini
Don Giovanni, Mozart
Salome, Strauss
The Daughter of the Regiment, Donizetti
The Magic Flute, Mozart*


Aïda, Verdi
Akhnaten, Glass
Die Zauberflöte, Mozart
Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Foss*


La Traviata, Verdi
Roméo et Juliette, Gounod
Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart


Deborah Voigt in concert
Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti
The Ballad of Baby Doe, Moore
Werther, Massenet



Tosca, Puccini
The Shepherd King, Mozart
L’Elisir d’Amore, Donizetti


Faust, Gounod
Falstaff, Verdi
Xerxes, Handel


Rigoletto, Verdi
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini
Candide, Bernstein


I Puritani, Bellini
Carmen, Bizet
The Postman Always Rings Twice, Paulus


La Bohème, Puccini
Beatrice and Benedict, Berlioz
Wuthering Heights, Floyd


La Cenerentola, Rossini
Lost in the Stars, Weill
The Tales of Hoffman, Offenbach


The Daughter of the Regiment, Donizetti
Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss
Regina, Blitzstein


Tosca, Puccini
The Flying Dutchman, Wagner
La Traviata, Verdi


The Portrait of Manon, Massenet
Thérèse, Massenet
Dialogues des Carmélites, Poulenc


Maria Stuarda, Donizetti
The Turn of the Screw, Britten


Rigoletto, Verdi
The Rake’s Progress, Stravinsky


Agrippina, Handel
Façade, Walton
La Voix Humaine, Poulenc
The Barber of Seville, Rossini


First the Music, Then the Words, Salieri
The Impresario, Mozart


Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss
Il Trovatore, Verdi
Madama Butterfly, Puccini


Der Ring des Nibelungen, Wagner


Norma, Bellini
The Abduction form the Seraglio, Mozart
Werther, Massenet


Amahl and the Night Visitors, Menotti
La Clemenza di Tito, Mozart
The Consul, Menotti
The Coronation of Poppea, Monteverdi


King for a Day, Verdi


Zaïde, Mozart

*BLO’s Opera for Young Audiences (OYA) – an annual production performed in English in one hour, fully staged, for Metro Boston families and New England schoolchildren.