Overture to Opera - The Birth of MOT - Detroit Opera

Overture to Opera – The Birth of MOT

Pictured: Ruth Townsend, David DiChiera & Virginia Yntema in 1963

 

 

As we continue to celebrate and acknowledge the magnificent 50-year history of Michigan Opera Theatre, one can’t help but nostalgically recall the birth of MOT with the program Overture to Opera! In 1943, the Detroit Grand Opera Association (DGOA) was formed by a group of influential patrons to bring traveling opera, such as The Metropolitan Opera Tour, to Detroit annually for a week residency. Overture to Opera was started in 1961 to give Detroit opera patrons a preview of the upcoming operas from the MET Tour.

In 1962 Oakland University added the talented and energetic composer and musicologist Dr. David DiChiera to its faculty. His work as a keyboard collaborator and as a lecturer caught the eye of Virginia Yntema, the General Chairman of the DGOA, who named DiChiera the Director of Overture to Opera.

Over the next nine years, DiChiera built the program as a grass-roots community effort, quickly establishing its reputation, financial support and respect amongst patrons, community partners and the musical industry.  He became the heartbeat of opera in Detroit and believed opera was vital theatre; insisting works be performed in English.  By 1970 the company produced its first full-length opera Rossini’s The Barber of Seville staring Detroiter Maria Ewing as Rosina, and as they say: The rest is Detroit Opera History.

Watch below to hear Maria Ewing sing Rosina’s aria Una voce poco fa.

Share with Friends


View All

Related Posts

Re-hearing Gounod’s Faust: A New Performing Edition

In 2018, French musicologist Paul Prévost, in collaboration with music publisher Bärenreiter-Verlag, produced a new edition of Gounod’s Faust. ...

Read More
Something About Marguerite

BY DAVID SHENGOLD   David Shengold explores the opera's tragic heroine, a character who is in some way familiar to us all. Most American ac...

Read More
Mural in Motion: a Detroit Opera Innovation

At the southwest corner of the Detroit Opera House, you may have noticed a huge mural of our proscenium overlooking the intersection of John R and Broadway. The stage, which at first appears empty, is the site of an exciting new way for Detroit Opera to share its newest productions with Detroiters!

Read More
Profile: Lileana Blain-Cruz & Raja Feather Kelly

The upcoming Detroit Opera production of Faust, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, is the duo’s first collab...

Read More