Seattle Opera is a cultural icon in the Emerald City that speaks to all residents and visitors in the Puget Sound region by offering opera’s unique fusion of music and drama that speak deeply to people’s hearts and minds. The company presents the classics of the European repertoire as well as new works of American opera. Seattle Opera performs five operas per year, about every two months from August through May.
About Seattle Opera
Founded in 1963, artists such as Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland, Franco Corelli, and James McCracken regularly sang at Seattle Opera in its first decade. Noteworthy productions included the 1971 first fully staged performance of The Who’s rock opera Tommy and the 1972 world premiere of Pasatieri’s Black Widow.
In 1975, Seattle Opera gave its first complete cycle of Wagner’s Ring in one week, an event that had not happened in the United States since 1939 (and unique outside of New York). This Ring was produced twice each summer, once in German and once in Andrew Porter’s English singing translation, for nine consecutive seasons until 1984.
Under the leadership of General Director Speight Jenkins, who succeeded Founding General Director Glynn Ross after 20 years in 1983, Seattle Opera created a host of landmark productions. Among them are the 1984 Ballad of Baby Doe, the 1988 Orphée et Eurydice, the 1989 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the 1990 Dialogues des Carmélites and War and Peace, the 1993 Pelléas et Mélisande with sets by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, the 1998 Tristan und Isolde, and two new productions of Der Ring des Nibelungen.
In August of 2003, the company inaugurated its new state-of-the-art home, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, with a new production of Wagner’s Parsifal, which ranksamong the company’s finest artistic achievements.
Aidan Lang succeeded Speight Jenkins as Seattle Opera’s General Director in 2014. Lang has ushered in new programs that serve the community both on and off the main stage. The company commissioned and produced the world premiere of An American Dream in August 2015, and a production of As One, an opera about a transgender woman’s search for self, staged at Washington Hall in Seattle’s Central District, plus new programs that bring performances to retirement communities and Title I schools.
At the end of 2018, the company plans to move its education, artistic, and administrative programs to a new civic home next to McCaw Hall. The new building will be an accessible community resource and will allow the company to expand its education programs.
Each year, more than 95,000 people attend Seattle Opera performances and the company’s programs serve more than 400,000 people of all ages (including school performances, radio broadcasts, and community engagement initiatives).
Seattle Opera volunteers
As one of the leading opera companies in the United States, Seattle Opera is recognized internationally for the quality of its productions. The company is always looking for reliable people willing to volunteer their time and talents to stage world-class opera for which Seattle is rightfully known.
Being a Seattle Opera volunteer provides you with the priceless opportunity to experience the effort that goes into staging world-class opera. Responsibilities and commitment vary; some volunteer opportunities include free tickets. Here are the ways you can volunteer with Seattle Opera:
Seattle Opera Supernumerary Volunteer
Supernumeraries are volunteers who appear on stage in non-singing roles. It’s much like being a non-speaking extra in a movie. Being a “super” takes lots of time and patience, but also provides fun and a unique learning experience. Men between the ages 18 – 50 are the most needed. Small children are always encouraged to apply.
Time requirements vary per opera, but the average commitment is three evenings during the week and three weekends for one day each during rehearsals, PLUS four to six hours for five nights during “tech week”, and then six to eight performances on various nights throughout the two performance weeks.
Supers receive 2 tickets to a dress rehearsal of the show in which they appear.
Seattle Opera Artist Aide Volunteer
Artist Aides assist guest artists with hospitality needs. Primary responsibilities of an Artist Aide include picking up guest artists at the airport as well as taking guest artists to the airport for their return home. Occasionally Artist Aides may be approached to serve as a local guide or information source to an artist who may have a inquiry.
Aides volunteer for as much or as little helping as their time permits.
Artist Aides have the opportunity to become better acquainted with visiting artists on the first-rehearsal day when the group hosts a buffet, plus participate in cast parties hosted by the General Director.
Seattle Opera Youth Chorus Volunteer
Youth chorus provides the opportunity for ages 7-12 to sing in operas that require children’s voices.
How to volunteer with Seattle Opera
For more information, or to apply for any Seattle Opera volunteer opportunity, scroll to the Volunteer section on the Seattle Opera career page.