About Opera California
Since its founding in 1989, Opera California (formerly the L.A. Hanmi Opera Company) has been committed to presenting the highest quality productions with a multi-cultural cast. As a community-based nonprofit organization, Opera California has also strived to reach out to different ethnic communities and break down barriers with music, serving a broad spectrum of audience from different communities.
Opera California’s reputation has been recognized by the industry for the quality of its work and received favorable reviews and commentary by the Los Angeles Times and other media, and by those involved in and attending each production at every level.
Through the joy of music, Opera California aims to be a force for real and positive change in the lives of those who hear us and continues to do its missionary work with communities.
Background and Activities of Opera California
Founded in 1989, the Los Angeles Hanmi Opera Company began as a small group of musicians based in Los Angeles Korean American Community (Hanmi translates to “Korean American”). With its roots in the gospel tradition, the L.A. Hanmi Opera quickly expanded its repertoire to include performances of Korean and classic European operas. In 1998, the L.A. Hanmi Opera Company changed its official name to Opera California.
Since its founding, Opera California has been committed to presenting productions of the highest caliber and to reaching out to other communities both through the multi-cultural casting of its productions and the efforts it has made to attract audiences that reflect the diversity of the Koreatown area. It has assembled a multi-cultural core ensemble of about 50 professional singers whose levels of talent and accomplishment are favorably compared to those of companies which have been around much longer and are much more widely known.
From 1990, Opera California presented at least one production from the classical opera repertoire, including Mozart’s Requiem, Amahl and the Night Visitors, La Traviata, La Boheme, Le Nozze di Figaro and the Korean opera, Esther, and small concerts of wide-ranging vocal music. In 2013, Opera California Global Messiah Mission Choir teamed up with 2013 member women’s choirs, based both in the U.S. and in Korea and presented the world premiere performance of Handel’s Messiah at Yeido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea.
In 1991, the Company founded the L.A. Hanmi Opera Youth Choir (changed to Opera California Youth Choir in 1998), a group of 45 talented, well-disciplined, and energetic young performers between the ages of seven and eighteen who present various types of music to their communities through concerts, workshops and recordings. In 1996, Opera California Youth Choir was awarded grants from National Endowment for the Arts.
The choir has performed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Choral Festival and the Children’s Concert of Praise. They have collaborated with the Santa Ana Orchestra and the Crossroad Chamber Orchestra and have performed in such operas as La Traviata and Amahl and the Night Visitors.