Based in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley, Center Stage Opera brings only the highest quality operatic productions to diverse audiences in the Valley and beyond. CSO offers unique outreach, educational and senior programs throughout Southern California, as well as professional development programs that enable singing actors, instrumentalists and technicians working in the operatic genre to gain valuable experience.
Our season is normally comprised of two fully staged operas and one orchestral concert each year. Operas are fully costumed, with orchestra, and include English translations projected above the stage.
CSO Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Dylan F. Thomas, brings his unique vision to some of the most beloved stories in opera, with captivating and intriguing stagings for the novice and seasoned audience member alike. Thomas’ background includes directing and singing in opera, musical theater and jazz , as well as extensive training in acting. In addition to his work with CSO, Thomas previously directed for the Pacific Symphony, was the Outreach Stage Director for Opera Pacific, and currently directs opera productions and workshops at local colleges and universities.
CSO Director of Artists’ Services and Co-Founder, soprano Shira Renee Thomas, has performed with Opera Pacific, Townsend Opera, and New York’s Opera Company of the Highlands, among others. She has delighted audiences in over 15 diverse leading roles, including Juliette (Romeo et Juliette), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Violetta (La traviata), and Marguerite (Faust). In 2011, she created the character of Marie, in the world premiere of Marie’s Orchard, a new American opera, with a libretto by Dylan F. Thomas, and music by Phillip Westin. Among the many awards Ms Thomas has won is First Prize in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Vocal Solo Competition. Ms Thomas handles artist relations, including auditions, for the company.
All productions feature the acclaimed Center Stage Opera Orchestra, and are led by CSO Music Director and Principal Conductor, Brian Onderdonk. Maestro Onderdonk has been with CSO since its founding in 2005, and has conducted internationally as well as locally.
Center Stage Opera is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. CSO programs reach the diverse populous throughout Southern California, connecting with children and adults from age 4 to 100 , with a goal to continually expand its programs to engage residents in cultivating a life-long interest in opera and musical performance.
The Opera Tree
CSO is dedicated to community service and education as well, and especially to bringing quality music performances to those who are economically disadvantaged. To this end, The Opera Tree (named in homage to Shel Silverstein’s children’s book, The Giving Tree) was established. Through The Opera Tree, CSO brings educational programs to both children and adults, and supports community service organizations, providing low-cost musical programs for fund-raisers and other events. CSO also provides tickets to productions at little or no cost to those who might otherwise never be able to attend an opera or concert, partnering with community service organizations that serve the economically disadvantaged.
For more information about The Opera Tree, please contact Jay Michtom at: email@example.com.
Our mission is to inspire and enrich the culture of Southern California and to showcase professional and emerging artists by bringing exhilarating operatic productions and passionate concert performances of high artistic standards, as well as creative educational and outreach programs to diverse audiences of all ages at affordable prices.
Our vision is to inspire and enrich the human spirit by engendering a life-long interest in exploring the multi-dimensionality and synergy of fully staged opera, orchestral music and the fusion of all performing arts disciplines to spawn creative thinking, increase community engagement and to stimulate young and seasoned minds, while continually achieving high quality productions, recitals and special events, and making opera accessible for all incomes and age groups.
We are dedicated to building meaningful connections with individuals, communities and businesses throughout Southern California through extensive outreach, professional education and versatile programs that bring in-depth exposure to all facets of opera (e.g., music, voice, staging, drama, dance, visual arts, foreign language), provide a resource for knowledge and personal enrichment for our diverse population, and serve as a launching point for emerging young artists.