Clockwise: Opera Naples’ 2020-2021 resident artists, mezzo-soprano Cara Collins, baritone Darren Drone, tenor Bradley Bickhardt and soprano Meredith Wohlgemuth on the steps at Baker Park, site of the city’s first opera festival.

Arts + Culture

Curtain Call

Opera Naples grows and adapts with the community.

Opera Naples used its pandemic hiatus productively, taking the opportunity to revamp the David and Cecile Wang Opera Center, reimagine the 2021 lineup and launch the city’s first opera festival at Baker Park. The opera company also inaugurated Arthrex’s new outdoor event space in February, when it hosted one of the first in-person events since the pandemic and raised $542,000.  The centerpiece of these recent efforts, though, may be the renovated opera center, which was energized by a $1 million pledge from longtime supporter Cecile Wang in June 2020. The space now sports a 300-seat theater (50 additional seats from before),  as well as a new lobby, an improved control booth for better sound quality and a separate event room for preshow and intermission drinks. It’s good, too, considering the rate at which the company is growing. When it started in 2005 as the first opera company in Naples, the goal was to reach a broader audience by hosting classic opera performances at affordable prices. Over the years, artistic director Ramón Tebar and executive director Sondra Quinn have expanded on that vision by adding outdoor shows that allow for larger, more casual audiences, and intimate dinner performances to connect directly with fans. In 2015, Tebar also introduced the artists-in-residence program, which brings up-and-coming talent to perform throughout the season and teach Collier County students through the group’s music education programs. The residency h
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