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Arizona Opera Company

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Opera

Mission: Arizona Opera's mission, as a professional opera company, is to be respected for its artistic excellence, financial stability and development of emerging talent, serving the diverse cultural and educational needs of the community. Our educational mission is to provide innovative, engaging and imaginative music and theater experiences that encourage people of all cultural heritages, ages, and abilities to fully explore the rich world of opera.

Programs: As a statewide company, arizona opera (azo) performs in both phoenix and tucson. Azo's mainstage productions and expansive arts education and community programming serve more than 70,000 people a year (of which, more than 45,000 are students) - a number which grows each season. Mainstage operas presented by azo provide a unique range of productions, including beloved classics like carmen and la boheme, as well as world premieres, like riders of the purple sage, and never-before-seen-in-arizona works, like hercules vs. Vampires, florencia en el amazonas and cruzar la cara de la luna. Arizona opera also provides a wide variety of community programming, including cultural festivals - week to month-long series of events that celebrate the diverse cultures that contribute to the cultural legacy of the state - film screenings, first fridays, and recitals. Additionally, azo has expansive arts education programming: our operatunity education programs serve more than 45,000 students a year in over 120 schools across the state. Of the schools visited, more than 90% are title i and 20% have no music education. Student night at the opera brings thousands of students from tucson and phoenix to watch a full dress rehearsal of an opera for little to no cost. In fostering the arts, arizona opera has an expansive apprenticeship program and studio artist program. Each season, apprentices are selected to gain critical hands-on experience in production and costuming. The organization's studio artist program is one of the most competitive in the country, providing burgeoning opera singers with the education and experience they require to excel in a demanding and difficult industry. Through space rentals and production rentals, azo partners with an extensive range of arts organizations across the state and across the country. The organization also provides rental discounts to fellow non-profits. During the 2016-17 season, more than 1000 tickets were donated to retired and active duty service members through the vet tix program. Additionally, more than 600 tickets were donated to a variety of organizations to support their fundraising efforts. Arizona opera is committed to presenting artistic, education, and community programming of the highest caliber each season in service to our art form and our state.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 1

Arizona Opera refuses to pay their vendors. They have repeatedly avoided and ignored any form of communication with us. We have a signed contract from the director, which was broken without any prior notice or explanation.

We have tried approaching both the Ryan Taylor (General Director) and Joann Serra (Director of Finance and Administration) on several occasions. Joann Serra has repeatedly ignored phone calls and emails. We have dealt with her for over 10 months, with only 1 phone call and 2 email responses from her. Ryan Taylor has managed to not respond or apologize for his organizations mishandling of vendor relations.

Keep in mind this organization was given $1 million dollars in funding to specifically pay off vendors in Summer 2013. Seems like a highly incompetent set of employees have been running the organization, be it the past or present crew. Yet, they are managing to use our product guilt free.

Arizona Opera was also served papers from our lawyers to give an explanation and pay the full payment on a certain date. They have managed to evade any response to the lawyer and payment. Be it their main director or their financial director, they seem to have the quality of Houdini to disappear than run a proper non-profit organization.

We're taking them to small claims court and unfortunately unlike us we have filed complaint against this non-profit organization to various nonprofit review sites, including BBB.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Arizona Opera has declined artistically over the past several years. I know that they have millions of dollars of debt which most likely accounts for their cheap productions. The singers are sometimes decent but the staging and lighting and sets are at an amateur level. I get the impression that they are on their last legs. I used to buy a subscription but am afraid to now because I think they will be bankrupt very soon and I will lose my money.


Rating: 5

This opera company has greatly improved in the last few years and currently sponsors 4 apprentices. They perform outreach to the schools and work very hard to be good community members. I am very impressed with their talent and artistic merit.