Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Virginia Opera Papers, 1974-2012 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Mel Frizzell

Collection Overview

Title: Virginia Opera Papers, 1974-2012

ID: 00/MG 85

Primary Creator: Virginia Opera Association (1974-)

Extent: 11.3 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

Series I: Virginia Opera Association. This series contains Virginia Opera Association business. This includes both the Statewide Board of Directors and the Hampton Roads Board of Governors. Included are meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, financial records, committee information, and other related business. Material is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically and dates from 1985 to 2011.

Series II: Opera Programs and Marketing "Postcards." This series contains programs, flyers, and marketing "postcards" for Virginia Opera seasons and individual performances. Material dates from 1975 to 2012 and is arranged in chronological order.

Series III: News Documents. This series is broken into three sub-series: A. Newspaper Clippings, B. Magazine Articles, and C. Press Releases.

Sub-series A: Newspaper Clippings. This sub-series contains newspaper clippings related to the Virginia Opera and opera in general. Materials are arranged chronologically and date from 1979 to the present time.

Sub-series B: Magazine Articles. This sub-series contains magazine articles related to the Virginia Opera and opera in general. Materials are arranged chronologically and date from 1975 to 1999.

Sub-series C: Press Releases. This sub-series contains Virginia Opera press releases from the 1990s and 2010s. Materials are arranged chronologically.

Series IV: Newsletters. This series is broken down into two sub-series: A. Virginia Opera News Newsletter and B. Opera Voice Newsletter.

Sub-series A: Virginia Opera News Newsletter. This sub-series contains the Virginia Opera News newsletter. Materials are arranged chronologically and date from 1979 to 1983.

Sub-series B: Opera Voice Newsletter. This sub-series contains the Opera Voice newsletter. Materials are arranged chronologically and date from 1989 to 2011.

Series V: Events. This series contains information on events hosted by the Virginia Opera Association, the Virginia Opera Guild, and the Virginia Opera Docents. Included are invitations, programs, and planning materials for a variety of events including galas, balls, dress rehearsals, luncheons, parties, lectures, and other such events. Materials are arranged chronologically and date from 1979 to present.

Series VI: Harrison Opera House. This series contains materials related to the renovation of the Center Theater into the Harrison Opera House. Included are the renovation plan and building specifications; news releases, clippings, and magazine articles related to the Harrison Opera House; tour information; a history of the Norfolk Center Theater; fundraising campaign information for the renovation; and the Grand Opening program from November 1993. Material dates mainly from the early 1990s when the renovation was in progress. Material is arranged alphabetically.

Series VII: Virginia Opera Guild. This series is broken into five sub-series: A. Business; B. Committees; C. Membership; D. Newsletters; and E. Miscellaneous.

Sub-series A: Business. This sub-series contains Opera Guild business materials such as by-laws, meeting minutes, financial information, schedules, and correspondence. Material is arranged alphabetically and dates from 2002 to the present.

Sub-series B: Committees. This sub-series contains material related to Virginia Opera Guild committees including the auction, gala, and hospitality committees. Material is arranged alphabetically and dates in the 2000’s.

Sub-series C: Membership. This sub-series contains material related to membership in the Virginia Opera Guild. Included are membership applications, board rosters, and membership directories. Material dates from 1988 to present. Material is arranged alphabetically by topic, and then chronologically where applicable.

Sub-series D: Newsletters. This sub-series contains Virginia Opera Guild newsletters. Materials are arranged chronologically and date from 1989 to present.

Sub-series E: Miscellaneous. This sub-series contains Guild related materials that do not fit easily into the other sub-series.

Series VIII: Virginia Opera Docents. This series is broken into five sub-series: A. Business; B. Membership; C. News Documents and Newsletters; D. Guides; and E. Docent Educational Materials.

Sub-series A: Business. This sub-series contains Docent business materials. Included are agendas, correspondence, reports and summaries, policies and procedures, forms, volunteer time logs, and the mission statement of the Docents. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic, and then chronologically where applicable. These materials date from the 1980 to 2006.

Sub-series B: Membership. This sub-series contains Docent membership lists from the 1980s to the present. Materials are arranged chronologically and date from 1993 to 1999.

Sub-series C: News Documents and Newsletters. This sub-series contains news articles about the Docent Education Program and issues of the "Recitative" Docent Newsletter. Materials are arranged alphabetically by type and then chronologically where applicable.

Sub-series D: Guides. This sub-series contains opera guides, teachers guides, and study guides. These highlight detailed information about various operas including: plot synopses, characters, music, information about the composer, historical information, classroom activities, pronunciation guides, discussion topics, and study questions. . Some of the guides even contain the scripts, a few in the native language of the composer.  Guides are arranged chronologically.

Sub-series E: Docent Educational Materials. This sub-series contains educational materials used in the Docent program. Included are classroom activities, repertoire and performance history, field trip materials, as well as information on the Norfolk Public School Project and In-School touring Program. Materials are arranged alphabetically, as most items are not dated.

Series IX: Personalities. This series contains biographical information about Virginia Opera personalities. Materials are arranged alphabetically by the individual’s last name.

Series X: Related Organizations. This series contains information about organizations related to the Virginia Opera. Included are the Friends of the Virginia Opera and Lyric Opera Virginia. Lyric Opera Virginia is a splinter group of the Virginia Opera formed after the termination of Peter Mark on November 18, 2010. Material is arranged alphabetically.

Series XI: Miscellaneous. This series contains materials that did not fit easily into other categories. Included are recipe cards, an advent calendar, and other miscellaneous materials. These are arranged alphabetically.

Series XII: Photos. This series contains photos from the Virginia Opera, Virginia Opera Guild, and Docents. Included are photos of individuals, groups, parties, workshops, opera props and sets, and the Harrison Opera House. Materials are arranged alphabetically, as not all photos are dated.

Series XIII: Multimedia. This series is broken down into four sub-series: A. Videotapes; B. Cassette Tapes; C. Compact Discs; and D. Record Albums.

Sub-series A: Videotapes. This sub-series contains Docent training videos in VHS format. All of these materials are from 1994. These are arranged chronologically.

Sub-series B: Cassette Tapes. This sub-series contains cassette tapes featuring workshops, lectures, board meetings, and the music of various opera performances. Materials are arranged alphabetically and date from 1994 to 2006.

Sub-series C: Compact Discs. This sub-series contains both audio and data CD’s. Audio CD’s include interviews and promotional CD’s with the music from various operas. Data CD’s include photos from various opera events. Materials date from 2002-2009 and are arranged alphabetically.

Sub-series D: Record Albums. This sub-series contains record albums with the music from various operas. Materials are arranged alphabetically.

Series XIV: Artifacts. This series contains artifacts relating to the Virginia Opera. Included are promotional pins, bumper stickers, t-shirts, key chains, souvenirs, as well as an opera review poster by a 4th grade class, Harrison Opera House lighting templates, and a folder of oversize newspaper articles.

Date Acquired: 05/09/2006. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Docents, opera companies, Harrison Opera House, Lyric Opera of Virginia, Opera--Educational programs, Opera companies--Virginia, Virginia Opera Association, Virginia Opera Guild

Languages: English

Abstract

Consists of Virginia Opera programs, guides, newspaper clippings, magazine articles. Also includes organizational documents, correspondence, audio-visual materials, bumper stickers, pins, aprons, and posters.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Material in the collection dates from 1975 to the present day. Represented in the collection are the Virginia Opera Association, the Virginia Opera Guild, the Virginia Opera Docents, and information on the Harrison Opera House. The Friends of Virginia Opera and a split off group called Lyric Opera Virginia are also represented, but to a much lessor extent. Material includes business, budgets, and correspondence; season programs and marketing materials; news articles and newsletters; membership information; educational materials; multimedia including video tapes, cassette tapes, compact discs, and record albums; photographs; and artifacts related to the Virginia Opera.

Collection Historical Note

History

Founded in 1974 by Edythe C. Harrison, the Virginia Opera Association was launched with two productions at the Norfolk Center Theater. In 1975, Peter Mark signed on as conductor for the Virginia Opera, a position he held for 35 years. His wife, the Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave, has composed many of her works for the Virginia Opera. In 1977, the Virginia Opera began performances in Richmond with the encouragement of then-Governor Mills Godwin and Mrs. T. Fleetwood (Anna) Garner who helped form the Richmond Friends of the Opera. By 1983, the Richmond and Central Virginia Board of Virginia Opera was formed and a Richmond office was opened. In November 1992, the Virginia Opera presented its first main stage performance at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax. Today the Opera has an operating budget of $6 million and performs 36 main stage performances yearly in Norfolk, Richmond and Fairfax. Performances reach nearly 50,000 attendees, and there are over 3,000 contributing donors to the Opera. In addition, the Virginia Opera reaches more than 200,000 students and community members yearly through its Education and Community Outreach Programs.

Venues

The Norfolk Center Theater began as a concrete-block structure near the Chrysler museum that originally served as a USO for armed forces personnel during World War II. The Norfolk Center Theater was renovated in 1993 and became the Edythe C. and Stanley L. Harrison Opera House, dedicated to the Virginia Opera's founder and her husband. The Harrison Opera House has 1,632 seats.

The Virginia Opera also plays at two other major venues in Virginia: the historical Landmark Theater in Richmond and the George Mason University Center for the Arts. The Landmark Theater, formerly known as the Mosque, was the Acca Temple Shrine in 1926 until it was bought by the City of Richmond in the 1940s. In the early 1990s it was transformed into the theater it is today. The George Mason University Center for the Arts in Fairfax is located on the George Mason campus, and also offers ballet and music concerts.

The Virginia Opera Guild

The Virginia Opera Guild plays a supporting role to the Virginia Opera. Members share an appreciation for opera, attend social events that provide insight into opera productions, and sponsor fundraising events that benefit Virginia Opera programs.

Education and Outreach

The Virginia School System has joined up with the Virginia Opera Association to bring educational value to the opera. Each year thousands of students visit opera houses across Virginia to be entertained as well as educated. Virginia Opera Educational Outreach Programs bring opera into the community by offering free admission to people less fortunate or setting up small operas in the community. These programs reach more than 200,000 students and community members each year.

Programs include an In-School Touring Program that brings opera programs to schools and communities throughout the year; Student Night at the Opera offering discounted tickets to students on special nights and Student Matinee's that allow students to attend matinee performances at an affordable price; and Operation Opera offering free presentations to community venues throughout Virginia.

Age-appropriate study guides are created to correlate with the Virginia Standards of Learning. These guides include background information, student worksheets, library activities that encourage educators to incorporate the arts into existing curriculum.

The Virginia Opera Docents serve as speakers to schools and community organizations as part of the Education and Outreach Program. These volunteers share their knowledge and insight about the opera providing free programs on a first-come-first-served basis.

Subject/Index Terms

Docents, opera companies
Harrison Opera House
Lyric Opera of Virginia
Opera--Educational programs
Opera companies--Virginia
Virginia Opera Association
Virginia Opera Guild

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Accruals: Additional accessions made in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Alternate Extent Statement: 16 Hollinger document cases, 2 Hollinger half document cases, 3 media boxes, 2 archival notebooks, and 1 oversize box.

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Eleanor J. Bader

Acquisition Method: Gift. Accession #A2006-05

Related Materials: For more information please see https://www.vaopera.org/.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [number], Folder [number and title], Virginia Opera Papers, Special Collections, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Virginia Opera Association],
[Series II: Opera Programs and Marketing "Postcards"],
[Series III: News Documents],
[Series IV: Newsletters],
[Series V: Events],
[Series VI: Harrison Opera House],
[Series VII: Virginia Opera Guild],
[Series VIII: Virginia Opera Docents],
[Series IX: Personalities],
[Series X: Related Organizations],
[Series XI: Miscellaneous],
[Series XII: Photos],
[Series XIII: Multimedia],
[Series XIV: Artifacts],
[All]

Series V: Events
Box 9
Folder 1: Dickens House Festival, November 23-25, 1979
Folder 2: Hansel and Gretel’s Fantasy Fest, November 29-30, 1980
Folder 3: A Casual Cabaret: Bidder’s Delight Auction, October 3, 1981
Folder 4: Cinderella’s Fantasy Fest, November 28-29, 1981
Folder 5: La Bal de Beaux: 4th Annual Opera Guild Ball, November 21, 1987
Folder 6: Decorator Show House : A Project of the Virginia Opera, April 18 - May 8, 1988
Folder 7: The Emerald City: 5th Annual Opera Guild Ball, November 19, 1988
Folder 8: One Pig Puppet Show: Buffa, 1989-1990
Folder 9: “Through the Looking Glass” a preview of Anna Bolena, January 10, 1989
Folder 10: Guild Night Rehearsal for “Anna Bolena”, January 18, 1989
Folder 11: Very Outstanding Auction for the Benefit of the Virginia Opera, April 1, 1989
Folder 12: A Starry, Starry Night: 6th Annual Opera Guild Ball, November 11, 1989
Folder 13: Docent Brunch, July 31, 1990
Folder 14: “What’s In – What’s Out” Fashion Luncheon to Benefit the Virginia Opera, April 17, 1991
Folder 15: Opera Up Close: Porgy and Bess, February 25, 1992
Folder 16: A Venetian Masked Ball, February 29, 1992
Folder 17: Opera Up Close: Don Pasquale, November 17, 1992
Folder 18: Open Dress Rehearsal: Don Pasquale, November 24, 1992
Folder 19: April in Paris: 10th Annual Opera Guild Ball, April 30, 1994
Folder 20: A Carousel Ball, February 24, 1996
Folder 21: Virginia Opera Guild Board Coffee, June 13, 1996
Folder 22: Lucia di Lammermoor: Dress Rehearsal, October 1, 1996
Folder 23: A Roman Holiday: 12th Annual Opera Guild Ball, February 22, 1997
Folder 24: The Elixir of Love: Dress Rehearsal, November 11, 1997
Folder 25: The Family Series: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, December 7 1997
Folder 26: Docent Holiday Party, December 11, 1997
Folder 27: The Tender Land: Dress Rehearsal, January 20, 1998
Folder 28: Asti’s Gala: An Elegant Supper Club with Singing and Dancing, January 16, 1999
Folder 29: The Crystal Ball, January 13, 2001
Folder 30: Guild Annual Holiday Luncheon, December 7, 2001
Folder 31: The Red, White, and Blue Ball, February 9, 2002
Folder 32: Virginia Opera Guild Dinner and Installation of Officers, May 16, 2002
Folder 33: An Introduction to the Season, August 22, 2002
Folder 34: Sunset on the River: Membership Cocktail Party, September 12, 2002
Folder 35: Let’s Discuss this Opera: A Christmas Carol (Docent program), November 2, 2002
Folder 36: Guild Night Dress Rehearsal for “A Christmas Carol”, November 5, 2002
Folder 37: Annual Holiday Luncheon, December 5, 2002
Folder 38: Opera Café: Docents Lecture and Discussion, 2003-2004
Folder 39: The Maestro’s Gala, February 8, 2003
Folder 40: Opera in the Vineyards, June 2003
Folder 41: Madame Butterfly Presentation, October 2, 2003
Folder 42: The Royal Ball, February 21, 2004
Folder 43: Student Night at the Opera, 2005-2006 Season
Folder 44: You and the Night and the Music: Celebrating 30 in the Thirties, February 26, 2005
Folder 45: Student Matinee: Little Red Riding Hood, October 12, 2005
Folder 46: Calendars and Schedules, 2006-2007
Folder 47: Student Night at the Opera, 2006-2007 Season
Folder 48: Mozart’s Birthday Bash, January 21, 2006
Folder 49: Student Matinee: The Marriage of Figaro, February 7, 2006
Folder 50: Student Matinee: Oh, Freedom, February 15, 2006
Folder 51: Family Day at the Opera: Sleeping Beauty, April 22, 2006
Folder 52: Annual Spring Party, May 18, 2006
Folder 53: Children and Opera at a Beach Picnic, August 8, 2006
Folder 54: Breakfast Musicale, August 12, 2006
Folder 55: Make Opera Your Cup of Tea, September 5, 2006
Folder 56: Sunset on the Water, September 7, 2006
Folder 57: Opera Insight Reception, Carmen, September 12, 2006
Box 10
Folder 1: Russian Festival, October 2006–2008
Folder 2: Virginia Opera Guild–Virginia Symphony League Holiday Luncheon, December 6, 2006
Folder 3: Cruise the World of Opera: Annual Gala, April 14, 2007
Folder 4: Breakfast Musicale, August 18, 2007
Folder 5: An Evening in the Winter Palace, January 26, 2008
Folder 6: Opera Insight for Eugene Onegin and Lucia Di Lammermoor, January 24, 2008
Folder 7: Opera Insight, February–March 2008
Folder 8: Family Day at the Opera: Pinocchio, May 10, 2008
Folder 9: Celebrate our 2007-2008 Guild Season, May 22, 2008
Folder 10: Dinner for Joe Walsh, August 11, 2008
Folder 11: Meet the Artists Reception: Il Trovatore, October 3, 2008
Folder 12: Celebrating Peter Mark’s 100th Production, October 12, 2008
Folder 13: Holiday Luncheon, December 6, 2008
Folder 14: Calendars and Schedules, 2009-10
Folder 15: An Afternoon of Opera and Art: Vissi d’art, January 18, 2009
Folder 16: Pre-opera Dinner and Meet the Artists Reception: Tosca, January 30, 2009
Folder 17: Gala Auction, February 4, 2009
Folder 18: Festival dell’ Opera, February 21, 2009
Folder 19: Opera For Everyone, June 14, 2009
Folder 20: Sunset on the River Concert, September 20, 2009
Folder 21: Meet the Artists Reception: La Boheme, October 3, 2009
Folder 22: The Palette of Paris: A Dazzling Gala Evening, October 17, 2009
Folder 23: Meet the Artists Reception: The Daughter of the Regiment, November 14, 2009
Folder 24: Virginia Opera Guild–Virginia Symphony League Holiday Luncheon, December 5, 2009
Folder 25: Calendars and Schedules, 2010-2011
Folder 26: Student Night at the Opera, 2010-2011 Season
Folder 27: Pre-opera Dinner and Meet the Artist Reception: Don Giovanni, February 13, 2010
Folder 28: Emerald : 35th Anniversary Gala, March 27, 2010
Folder 29: Year End Party, May 15, 2010
Folder 30: First Look at Rappahannock County, July 29, 2010
Folder 31: Breakfast Musicale, August 21, 2010
Folder 32: Opera in the Park, September 11, 2010
Folder 33: Sunset on the River, September 11, 2010
Folder 34: Pre-opera Dinner, October 2, 2010
Folder 35: Merchant of Venice Rummage Sale, October 23, 2010
Folder 36: Guild Night, Dress Rehearsal for “Cosi Fan Tutte”, November 9, 2010
Folder 37: Meet the Artist Reception: Cosi Fan Tutte, November 13, 2010
Folder 38: Pre-opera Celebration: Cosi Fan Tutte, November 13, 2010
Folder 39: Discussion: Cosi Fan Tutte, November 16, 2010
Folder 40: Virginia Opera Guild–Virginia Symphony League Holiday Luncheon, December 4, 2010
Folder 41: Discussion: The Flight of the Valkyries: Anti-semitism, Evil, and Image, January 23, 2011
Folder 42: Meet the Artist Reception: The Valkyrie, February 5, 2011
Folder 43: Pre-opera Celebration: The Valkyrie, February 5, 2011
Folder 44: Discussion: The Valkyrie, February 7, 2011
Folder 45: Under the Big Top: 36th Anniversary Ball, February 26, 2011
Folder 46: Student Night at the Opera: Madama Butterfly, March 17, 2011
Folder 47: Meet the Artist Reception: Madama Butterfly, March 19, 2011
Folder 48: Pre-opera Celebration: Madama Butterfly, March 19, 2011
Folder 49: Discussion: Madama Butterfly, March 22, 2011
Folder 50: Joe Walsh Final Bow, March 27, 2011
Folder 51: Butterflies and Blossoms: A Sparkling Gala Evening, April 2, 2011
Folder 52: Behind the Scenes Program, March 6 [no year]
Folder 53: Guild Night, March 15 [no year]
Folder 54: West Side Story Cast Party, November 12 [no year]
Folder 55: Miscellaneous Invitations, undated

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Virginia Opera Association],
[Series II: Opera Programs and Marketing "Postcards"],
[Series III: News Documents],
[Series IV: Newsletters],
[Series V: Events],
[Series VI: Harrison Opera House],
[Series VII: Virginia Opera Guild],
[Series VIII: Virginia Opera Docents],
[Series IX: Personalities],
[Series X: Related Organizations],
[Series XI: Miscellaneous],
[Series XII: Photos],
[Series XIII: Multimedia],
[Series XIV: Artifacts],
[All]

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