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 XI: Miscellaneous
Box 19
Folder 23: Handwritten Notes
Folder 24: Miscellaneous
Folder 25: Recipe Cards

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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