Mission and History

We’ve been bringing a little bit of the world to Milwaukee since 1933.

Our Mission

The Florentine Opera Company is driven to produce the full range of operatic works reflecting the highest musical and theatrical standards, and to support community and education programs that foster the current and next generation of opera audiences and practitioners.

The History of the Florentine

The Florentine Opera Company is Wisconsin’s oldest fully professional performing arts organization and the sixth-oldest opera company in the United States. The company presents three operatic productions per season at the Marcus Center in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In addition, the Florentine presents its @ The Lueders Center series at our home in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

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The Italian Opera Chorus

The Florentine Opera was founded in 1933 by John-David Anello. At that time, the group was called the Italian Opera Chorus, and it met at the Jackson Street Social Center.

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The Florentine Opera Chorus

In 1942, the group became The Florentine Opera Chorus, remaining under the direction of John D. Anello. He explained that the change in name “was to honor the birthplace of opera as we know it. The craft originated in the Italian city of Florence, which has been known as a bustling center for the arts for many centuries.” By this time, the chorus had grown to a group of 100 members of many nationalities, with a waiting list of over 100 more. In the program of the first “Opera Album” after the name change is written the Florentine Opera Chorus motto: “If our song has stopped one heart from aching, we have not lived in vain.”

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the florentine opera


In 1950, the Florentine Opera Chorus extended its efforts from operatic choral performances to the production of complete operas and the company became a private venture, changing its name one final time to the Florentine Opera Company. The Florentine Opera Company is a member of Opera America. Our performances range from Baroque gems with period instruments to world premieres.