Calgary Opera

we serve these populations

  • aging population
  • children and youth
  • Disabilities
  • immigrant newcomers
  • indigenous communities
  • women

we need help with:

  • arts
  • education
  • music

Requesting $35000


Calgary Opera is a playground for the curious and we invite everyone to come play with us!

Founded in 1972, Calgary Opera is one of Canada’s most innovative and ambitious professional opera companies. With a mix of timeless stories, new worlds, hidden treasures, and forgotten gems Calgary Opera offers grand spectacles and intimate moments at an international level to the Southern Alberta community.

In its 2022-23 season the organization offered more than 20 public performances, including a Canadian premiere, with nearly 18,000 people in attendance. The company employs more than 400 artists each year.

Calgary Opera believes in communal learning and sharing. It strives to foster artistic, intellectual, and emotional discovery. In addition to astonishing main stage performances, the organization serves tens of thousands of Alberta children each year through its youth and family programs that include an annual School Tour, its Let’s Create an Opera program in Calgary schools, and multicultural interactive musical stories for families performed across the city.

We bring 8 of North America’s most undeniably talented trained young singers to Calgary, to live and perform here, every year as part of the McPhee Artist Development Program. (Only three other companies in Canada offer this kind of opportunity.)

We work closely with other community and arts organizations in the city on a variety of programs that benefit Calgarians. Partners include: Calgary Public Library, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association,  Alberta Ballet, the Old Trouts, Cantare Children’s Choir, and, of course, the incomparable Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

Our mainstage shows at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium are grand spectacles crafted with artistry to create immersive experiences. The sets are immense. The singing is loud. (Really, heart-grippingly loud.) The house is filled with thousands of Calgarians, talking and laughing together between acts and sharing the experience of the action onstage when the house lights are down. Audiences are both familiar and new friends.

Calgary Opera is a place where staff, artists, audience, and community connect: to feel, to experience, and to grow together.


We believe in artistic, intellectual, and emotional discovery.

It’s part of our commitment to creating new works and bringing international talent to Calgary. It also drives us to bring our unique talents to the city around us.

Calgary Opera performs in up to 850 elementary schools each year. In alternating years, Calgary Opera offers in-person and virtual tours of operas for young audiences featuring artists from the McPhee Artist Development Program.

During in-person School Tour years, McPhee Artists travel around Calgary and other communities in Alberta with a (very nifty) portable set, which changes each year, with each show. They entertain and take questions from up to 20,000 students. For many children this their first time experiencing professional performing arts.

During the COVID-19 pandemic Calgary Opera safely worked two years in a row to offer a digital opera for young audiences to all educators in Alberta for free. Over 108,000 students across Alberta watched a virtual tour of Hansel & Gretel in 2021, and 110,000 students watched the following year’s The Brothers Grimm. Calgary Opera intends to keep bringing opera directly into this many students spaces by offering virtual tours every other moving forward.

Each year, from both live in-person and high quality virtual School Tours, we get beautiful thank-you cards from students and teachers. Calgary Opera is deeply dedicated to this program. With support from Calgary Opera’s donor community, the organization can continue to offer this professional performance to children in the province at as little cost to the schools as possible.


Calgary Opera for Calgary

Community Engagement

Since 2021, Calgary Opera’s Community Ambassador Program has worked with a diversity of partners in the Calgary community on projects that range from single event to eight-month long programs.  The Community Ambassador Program has a common goal in all projects: Offer Calgarians accessible opportunities to come together, to listen, to learn, to make music, and to connect with one another through opera and song. Community partners have included Calgary Board of Education, LINKages, National AccessArts Centre, KidZinc, Skipping Stone Foundation and Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association.

Take a look at our Community Ambassadors work:

Master Classes and Family Concerts

Every year, we open our home, Mamdani Opera Centre, to the community for access to a variety of events. Three times a year, we offer free Master Classes with some of Canada’s most esteemed vocal coaches. It’s an invaluable chance to learn from the best, so we don’t put a price tag on that opportunity, either.

Each holiday season, Calgary Opera offers a production for youth and families. In December 2022 this was Stone Soup, a show that centred on themes of generosity and kindness. Other events throughout the year include community engagement events like a free community showing of The Brothers Grimm which welcomed over 350 of Calgary Operas neighbours in for a viewing, free popcorn and free cake in celebration of the organization’s 50th Anniversary.

In fall 2022, Calgary Opera furtherer expanded its community engagement with Opera 212, a series of free opera-focused events aimed at reaching each of the Calgary’s 212+ neighbourhoods.

Let’s Create an Opera

Though we know that art is crucial in cognitive development—it teaches us how to solve problems, empathize with others and express ourselves— schools have lost arts funding.

Every year, Calgary Opera offers 3 Calgary schools the opportunity to participate in the Let’s Create an Opera program. We bring a writer (librettist), composer and director into each of these schools to create an opera with the students. Students are directly involved in the writing, music and production details, and then they perform their creation for their families and communities at the end of the school year. It’s incredible what can come from a group of young people with stories to tell.

Supporting New Works

In 2021, Calgary Opera began its Opera Labs program which supports Canadian artists in new opera development from concept to curtain.

Building on the important work of its 2021 Opera Labs, Calgary Opera is continuing to support the creation of the Indigenous-led opera Namwayut. The Namwayut project is a new way of creating opera based on an Indigenous model, led by Indigenous artists. The creative team is working collaboratively to create an opera together—allowing singers, librettist, and composers to all have an equal voice in the inspiration and creation of the piece.

Our Building

The Mamdani Opera Centre is our home. In addition to our mainstage productions at the Jubilee, we produce several performances each season at the Mamdani Opera Centre, in the building of the old Wesley Church on the corner of 7th St. and 14th Ave. SW in the Beltline.

We’re a community facility: the list of other non-profit groups that use our space is long and spans everything from professional choirs to Pride celebrations. But our building is run-down, and we’re having trouble keeping it accessible for everyone.

If you can help us match a grant and give our space the upgrades it needs to continue hosting the community, we’d love to hear from you.

And we couldn’t do what we do without you.

Aside from our immediate surroundings, the biggest barrier facing Calgary Opera is the reality that each donation matters. If we covered our costs with ticket sales, ticket prices would begin at $300 each.

We believe opera is for everyone and Calgary Opera wants to ensure that opera is accessible to the entire Calgary community.

Find out more about donation, sponsorship and other ways to support Calgary Opera at

We’re looking forward to talking with you about ways you can support us, and how we can keep working for our community as your Calgary Opera.

Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Caitlin Russell

Development Officer

(403) 262-7286


More Info

Charity Number: #11882 3830 RR 0001

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Financial Statements / Annual Reports

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