Wichita operastad i Kansas USA
Wichita är en stad i den amerikanska delstaten Kansas, nära Little Arkansas utlopp i Arkansasfloden. Den har en befolkning på 361 400 invånare, medan storstadsregionen har 596 400 invånare.
It started with a vision to share top-quality professional opera with an audience eager to see live opera produced in their own hometown. In 2000, there were only two states in the U.S. without a resident professional opera company: South Dakota and Kansas. After exploratory visits, meetings with local leaders, and a feasibility study, American soprano Margaret Ann Pent and European impresario Parvan Bakardiev chose Wichita, Kansas, as the home for a new opera company. At that time, Wichita’s stable economy and vibrant medical and artistic communities marked it as a good location for the creation of a professional company. The idea became a reality on November 15, 2000, with the incorporation and founding of Wichita Grand Opera.
The late Luciano Pavarotti helped promote the founding of WGO by making his first Kansas appearance on April 6, 2002, in WGO’s inaugural gala concert with the WGO Orchestra at the Kansas Coliseum, and as the guest of honor at the Pavarotti Opera Ball held at the newly restored Broadview Ballroom. This brought instant national and international recognition to the founding of the company and attracted the initial local donors. Later that same year the King of Opera, Plàcido Domingo, lent his support by performing a gala concert with WGO Orchestra at Century II’s Convention Hall, and attending the Domingo Opera Ball as the guest of honor. The 2003 production of Carmen on the Lake at Bradley Fair brought widespread media coverage as well, and increased the number of regional donors.
Local support began to spread throughout the community and Ms. Pent and Mr. Bakardiev established the Founders Circle Wall, which is displayed in the 2nd floor lobby in Century II Performing Arts Center. It was unveiled at a special ceremony by famed baritone Sherrill Milnes on October 23, 2004, with 78 members.
Thanks to the enthusiastic reception by its audience and donors, the WGO has continued to be an incredible success. It has established a reputation for engaging world-renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers, and has received awards from Opera America and the City of Wichita. Its Young and Resident Artists Programs have turned out singers who have gone on to successful opera careers and received prestigious awards.
Local residents can take pride in being one of the few cities in the United States to have its own opera company. With the support of civic-minded people all over Kansas, audiences will be able to derive inspiration from the “joy of opera” for many years to come.