First Coast Opera – 20 Years and Counting
Founders – Barbara Norris and Anthony Fast
In January 2000, soprano Barbara Norris and her husband Anthony Fast produced a concert titled An Evening of Opera, leading to the formation of First Coast Opera in Saint Augustine. Serving Northeast Florida’s First Coast region, the company began a series of concerts and staged productions of operas and operettas featuring local talent. Before relocating to North Carolina, the founders hosted their final concert with the company, aptly titled Addio!, in May 2008.
First Coast Opera continued under the leadership of Board Presidents Pamela Tsitos, Dulcy Freedman, Adam Mayo, and Nancy Perry, programming a wide variety of themed cabarets and concerts, as well as staged productions ranging from Weill’s Three Penny Opera to Puccini’s Turandot to Terrence McNally’s play Master Class.
In 2014, Curtis Tucker joined First Coast Opera as Artistic Director. Under the leadership of Maestro Tucker and Board President Michele Bova, the company has expanded its programming and artistic reach through staged productions of both classic and new works, tribute concerts highlighting the careers of Marian Anderson, Leonard Bernstein, Mario Lanza, and Edith Piaf, and increased outreach to area schools.
The only producing opera company in Northeast Florida, First Coast Opera is a leading arts voice and active arts partner in the region. In 2015, FCO partnered with other arts organizations to commemorate the City of Saint Augustine’s 450th Anniversary with a festive concert at the local Amphitheatre. FCO has been a frequent collaborator with Flagler College, Stetson University Opera, University of North Florida Opera Theatre, Lightner Museum, A Classic Theatre, Romanza Festivale of the Arts, St. Augustine Orchestra, St. Augustine Community Chorus, St. Augustine Art Association, St. Augustine Youth Chorus, and Limelight Theatre.