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.
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 Opera Theatre (renamed in 2016) ambitiously relaunched its brand in 2016 after serving the community as a mainstay for large productions particularly featuring operetta and light opera. Looking forward, the company realized it needed to become relevant and viable to the present and open to the future. The result is a pared down, intimate, site-specific company that presents a hybrid format where opera and theatre (music and language) are equal. Our tagline is "New Works Exposed, Classical Works Reimagined"
2017's productions of The Tragedy of Carmen performed at Midpointe Events Center and Don Giovanni performed at The Woman's Club of Minneapolis were astounding successes. New audiences emerged, the media embraced the productions with mulitple reviews and featured articles and a new Skylark was born.
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, 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.