Indianapolis Opera’s 50th season to celebrate legacy, alumni


The main theme of Indianapolis Opera’s 50th season is celebrating legacy and alumni.

“The legacy are the families that from the beginning started the company and those who have come along through three or four generations of supporters,” said David Starkey, who has been the Indianapolis Opera general director since 2016. “They are very key civic leaders and families, and the desire to have a world-class city is the desire to have a world-class opera and symphony and all those kinds of institutions. Then you come along with the alumni. You have two iconic leaders, Bob Driver in the ‘80s who went on to take Opera Philadelphia and was a legend in the opera world, followed by the era of (artistic director) Jim Caraher. There are singers who got their start here or really developed their career in Indianapolis. That’s one of the biggest emphasis of our event.”

ND INDY OPERA 0620 Starkey head shot

Indy Opera will reunite with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for the 50th Anniversary Legacy Gala Concert at 7:30 p.m. March 22, 2025, at the Hilbert Circle Theater in Indianapolis.

“We will have all those legends coming back, not only the artistic leaders but the famous and world-renowned singers who have been on our stage,” Starkey said. “It’s going to be an all-star gala.”

The 2024-25 season will open with Opera in the Park at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7, a free event at MacAllister Amphitheater at Garfield Park in Indianapolis.

“The Barber of Seville” is set for Nov. 15-17 at The Tarkington in Carmel. Starkey said “The Barber of Seville” was the first Indianapolis Opera show at The Tarkington in 2016. Starkey was the production director for that production before taking the general director post later that year.

“It’s a little bit of a reunion of sorts to bring back that legendary piece,” Starkey said. “These days we need a little more comedy in our performances.”

Following the concert, there will be a debut production of “West Side Story” May 9-11, 2025, at the Bicentennial Pavilion at the Indianapolis Zoo.

“One of the passions of the board and myself has been to bring in a lot of classic repertory into our stages,” Starkey said. “Jim Caraher did the classic operatic repertory. This era has been about bringing in more contemporary repertory, whether it’s contemporary opera like ‘Brundibar’ and ‘Yardbird’ or bringing in classical theater pieces like ‘The Man of La Mancha’ and ‘Camelot.’”

Earlier this month, the Indianapolis Opera presented Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.”

“The audiences were tremendously surprised how operatic ‘A Little Night Music’ and Sondheim’s writing actually is,” Starkey said.

“West Side Story” includes a score by Leonard Bernstein and libretto by Stephen Sondheim.

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