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Longwood Opera's mission statement

The mission of Longwood Opera is twofold:

  • to prepare trained emerging singers for the next stage in their operatic careers by providing them with the opportunity to practice their art and to polish their performing skills in major roles before a live audience

  • to foster appreciation for opera among individuals from all walks of life in the Greater Boston communities by offering high-quality, accessible and affordable operatic experiences

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About the company

J. Scott Brumit

J. Scott Brumit, the co-founder and current general director of Longwood Opera, compares the training of an opera singer to that of an athlete:

Both must learn by doing.

The Boston area has plenty of conservatories and universities with excellent music programs - but provides few opportunities for young singers to practice and gain experience in their art.

Why? Producing opera is a costly undertaking. Most major companies are reluctant to risk using "unseasoned" singers in leading roles.

Scott Brumit and John Balme were willing to take that risk. They founded Longwood Opera in 1986 to give locally-based performers a chance to establish themselves as professional artists.

Don B and Rosina

To continue the sports metaphor: Longwood works as baseball farm team - the Pawtucket Red Sox of opera.

Longwood achieves its commitment to local artists by using a cooperative system.

Many of the roles in each production are double- or even triple-cast, allowing several singers to perform the same role

As a result, over the past few decades hundreds of singers have had an opportunity to practice their craft as members of the company.

As more people seek performing arts careers in a climate of dwindling opportunity, Longwood Opera has matured into a valuable forum for the young, talented artist.

Susannah with a gun
Dorian Gray with picture

While part of the company's mission is to prepare singers for the next stage in their operatic careers, success in achieving this goal can bring joy mixed with a little sadness, as favorite artists move on.

Happily, many singers keep their local ties and may express interest in learning a new role in one of our productions.

As a result, audiences can enjoy a performance cast with singers drawn from several generations of the Longwood roster.

Carmen, Frasquita, and Mercedes dancing
Jeffrey Brody
Jeffrey Brody

Composers need support, too.

Longwood has already had the privilege of providing commissions for composers and then staging the premiers of their new works: Friends and Dinosaurs, by Charles Shadle, was first performed in 1989. The spring of 2001 marked the premier of a new work, The Measure of Love, composed by Longwood's conductor, Jeffrey Brody, with a libretto by Richard Sizensky, commissioned and performed by Longwood Opera.

Jeffrey Brody on composing an opera for Longwood

Longwood Opera
42 Hawthorn Avenue
Needham, Massachusetts 02492-3806

For more information call (781) 455-0960 or send e-mail to

Last updated on March 27, 2017 --> by Marion Leeds Carroll
(longwood at