930 East Burleigh Street
"If our song has stopped one heart from aching, we have not lived in vain."
The Florentine Opera was founded in 1933 by John-David Anello. At that time, the group was called the Italian Opera Chorus, and it met at the Jackson Street Social Center. In 1942, the group became The Florentine Opera Chorus, remaining under the direction of John D. Anello. He explained that the change in name "was to honor the birthplace of opera as we know it. The craft originated in the Italian city of Florence, which has been known as a bustling center for the arts for many centuries. By this time, the chorus had grown to a group of 100 members of many nationalities, with a waiting list of over 100 more. In the program of the first "Opera Album" after the name change is written the Florentine Opera Chorus motto: "If our song has stopped one heart from aching, we have not lived in vain." In 1950, the Florentine Opera Chorus extended its efforts from operatic choral performances to the production of complete operas and the company became a private venture, changing its name one final time to the Florentine Opera Company.
Over the past decade, the Florentine Opera has premiered several new American operas. It produced the American premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1999. In 2009, the Florentine presented Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein’s Elmer Gantry (with a two-time 2012 Grammy Award-winning professional recording). A world premiere (with a 2013 Grammy Award-winning professional recording) of Don Davis’ Spanish language Rio de Sangre opened in 2010.