Skylark Opera was founded as Opera St. Paul in 1980 by the late singer/voice teacher Virginia Hardin Olson and by President Emerita Irma Wachtler.
Their Mission was to provide young Upper Midwest opera singers the opportunity to perform principal roles in a professional company.
In 1986, the company changed its name to North Star Opera to reflect its audience and artist constituency, which was broader than the City of St. Paul. Initially, the company performed traditional grand opera as well as new or rarely performed works such as the Upper Midwest premiere of Kirke Mechem's Tartuffe.
From 1989 to 2016, former New York City Opera conductor and Minnesota native Steven Stucki served as music director and conductor of all performances. As Skylark Opera's Artistic Director, Steve expanded the repertoire to include musical theatre as well as opera and operetta. In 2006, the Board of Directors of North Star Opera changed the organization's name to Skylark Opera ("Skylark").
Since 1991, Skylark Opera has performed more than 100 productions and has employed more than 500 actors, musicians, designers and production staff over the years. Our major productions of opera, operetta and musical theater have ranged from the classic and familiar to those never-before-produced in Minnesota, among them: Romberg's The Student Prince, Donizetti's The Elixir of Love, Sondheim’s Putting it Together, Offenbach's The Grand Duchess of Gérolstein and La Belle Hélène, Herbert's Mlle. Modiste, Puccini’s La Rondine, Rorem's Our Town, Coward's Bitter Sweet, Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, and Bernstein's On the Town.
Skylark thanks its many patrons who have generously made supporting donations and also the organizations who have provided grants, including the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Target Foundation, the Twin Cities Opera Guild, and the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts.
This activity funded, in part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.