The situation of our world today challenges everyone. The arts and nonprofits are especially challenged more so today than yesterday. Your donations help support the operating costs of Opera NOVA.


Please make a tax-deductible donation to Opera NOVA today and ensure democratization of Opera continues tomorrow. 

"Corona Lamenta"
Self-quarantined art

Facing the Challenge of COVID-19

Opera NOVA is a community Opera company. Social interaction of community members is a major element of any community. COVID-19

and the social- distancing response prompt us to think about what we mean by “community” and “social interaction.” An initial definition of a community is based on the physical proximity of members of a population. For example, Opera NOVA is native to Northern Virginia and the social interactions of Northern Virginians.

This basic notion is directly challenged by social distancing. Social distancing is the correct response to COVID-19 and we encourage

everyone to practice social distancing if you must go out and stay home otherwise. Let's refine our meaning of “community.” As humans, we are not

restricted by mere physicality, but we can

define ourselves, and our communities, in

terms of common thoughts and interests.

For example, Opera NOVA is defined as much

by geography as it is by common interests

including Opera, storytelling, music, shared

experiences, and humanity.

Like many organizations, Opera NOVA is threatened by the current circumstances. Social distancing highlights what we've had with Opera NOVA and miss now; its relaxation in the near future will present opportunities to get together as a community - strengthened by the experiential knowledge of what it could be like!

While attending performances in the future will greatly help our community, here are some things we can do in the meantime that take advantage of our website,

  • Share your thoughts about opera experiences.

  • Make your own home-made breathing-masks inspired by your favorite opera or theme! This can be a fun activity for kids stuck inside, as well as adults stuck with them. You can even act-out an opera or story.

  • Share links and media. There are many interesting things on the web that are worth checking out -as well as many things that are not worth anything ☹

  • Look at and send comments about past performances. Maybe you have suggestions for future performances.

Please send your narratives to

This list is by no means exhaustive and not entirely Opera-related.

This is an opportunity for a bit of community development.

I'm looking forward to what we learn from this!


Take care of yourself and each other,


Bill Staderman, Board Member Opera NOVA

Check our "PAST EVENTS" while we prepare coming events!

Why should I become a member of Opera NOVA?

The best way to describe Opera NOVA is to tell you that it is a service organization that through the arts serves the community. We have intended to influence the culture for good by elevating the presence of the arts as well as the level of social grace and worldliness of Arlington since 1962. Having its own opera company gives Arlington a singularity not enjoyed by many other places. This cultural gem defined Arlington. It went into its DNA. It gave Arlington a charm and rising sense of sophistication.


In 1970, Catherine Filene Shouse (Wolf Trap fame) tapped the young opera company with a unique idea: If you want to promote universal access to opera, start with the children. Since 1973, Opera NOVA has introduced over 55,000 children to a theater production of a professional opera designed for them. In 1973, when Ms Shouse funded the performance of the first annual opera for classes from public schools with her check of $2,000. Today’s cost $25,000. Today classes come from public, private, religious, and Home Schools.   With community support, in February 2020 Opera NOVA will perform Monkey See Monkey Do for close to 2800 students.


While the annual children’s opera is our signature production, Opera NOVA does so much more    A special opera for seniors, “ethnic” concerts, numerous concerts during the year.   We collect used instruments and recycle them to “appropriate” schools.  We network with many other performing arts organizations, non-profit organizations, as well as service organizations like the Arlington Optimist Chapter.


Opera NOVA “democratizes” access to all of its events, Everyone Goes to the Opera -- not just a certain class, not just intellectuals, not just music addicts, but everybody welcome to our Public Performance of the annual children’s opera families and seniors, children being helped by other organizations such as  Scouts, Boys & Girl Clubs,  Doorways, SCAN, Reading Is Fundamental, Children of Imprisoned Parents,  Arm & Arm, OAR, Jack & Jill Clubs  


Having exposed over 55,000 young minds to opera (so far!), Opera NOVA has taken up Ms Shouse’s. vision in educating and engaging students so that they grow up not only knowledgeable of opera, but as comfortable about the genre as they are about movies.  While technology and STEM education are important, we have not lost sight of the things that makes us better people and citizens. We provide cultural and artistic opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to most students. A big part in our success has been the participation since 1970 of the Arlington County Board and the Superintendent of Schools.


Opera NOVA is dependent on the financial support of donors and sponsors to continue to serve this growing eclectic community so many of us call Home. Opera NOVA is a valuable cultural treasure. Make it yours!  Your membership will give you a touch of ownership and will give us the support we need to save an opera company that has “democratize” access and provides a much needed platform for aspiring artists.  Feel a responsibility to the next generations to save the glorious   musical heritage we have been given from those before us.   Our events may not have a lot of bells and whistles but they have the highest quality of musical performance you could want.


Opera NOVA offers expressions of culture that are felt in the heart and learned in the mind. There is so much beauty and joy in the world of the classical arts and in opera in particular that we are fighting to be sure all share in knowing them. Join us. Be part of Opera NOVA.


We ask that you become a member to help us continue this series in particular, volunteer if you can. Remember Opera NOVA is a “community” opera company; membership brings you a touch of ownership. You can tell us what to do!! You become an Ambassador for Opera NOVA out in the world to bring others into our audiences.

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"Opera Nova gives real opportunities to local singers regardless of race or background. Opera has often been called an elitist art form and it is in this way - that those of all races bring their best and most disciplined gifts and talents to it. Opera is one of the culminations of Western artistic endeavor and it must be open to all. Opera Nova embodies that root and branch."  Michael Parker from Michael Parker Vocal Arts

"Opera NOVA is an inclusive organization with an emphasis on ensuring that children experience opera performances who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Connections with the arts helps children improve their academics. Delighted to meet a young opera performer - Sofia Parfomak." - Barbara Favola

Wanda Pierce is a friend of Opera NOVA. who hosts a remarkable show on WERA. Tune in to:

Philanthropy Matters radio show airs weekly on Fridays 3:30pm-4:00pm

Listen live on the radio at WERA 96.7FM

Listen live on the web at

Listen anytime on the Philanthropy Matters podcast on

Letters Written By Randolph School Children

Who Have Attended an Opera


*Spelling and grammar are original to the authors.


I just wanted to thank you for allowing my class come to see The Nightingale.  I enjoyed watching the performance, and I’m sure the rest of my grade liked it as well.  It was my first time going to the opera and The Nightingale made me want to see other operas now.  Thank you very much, again.





I like the emperor costumes and the Nightingale.  The part I liked most was when the Nightingale started to sing to get the emperor back alive.  It was so exciting to go to the theatre and see all the people in the play.  The other part I liked was when one of the children in the red vest tripped the other kids with the gray vest.  How did the trees come down?





Thank you for this Intellingent opera show, and thank you for paying for the tickets.  Oh my favorite was the search for the nightingale.  I’m doing a play too.  It’s called We the People. I have three parts.  Oh and I have an opera song to audtioun with too, but thank you.





The show was fantastic!  The singing was amazing.  All of the hard work really showed.  Thank you very much.  The Nightingale was outstanding.  I loved the peacocks.  Their costumes were simple, but incredible.  The woman who played the nightingale had a beautiful voice.  I loved the way that you portrayed the mechanical bird.  I didn’t know what to expect and the result was more than I could imagine.


Thanks a million,



The Nightingale was nice.  The singing and the costumes were great.  The singing was awesome because of the sound.  The costumes had nice details.  There were different colors and sparkles.  My favorite charectors were the mechanical nightingale and the read nightingale.  Thank you for helping us see The Nightingale.  It was great.


Sincerely, Alexie

Opera NOVA has been recognized as exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code since 1994 and is currently registered with Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM).

Webmaster: Bill Staderman

Publicist: Michael Doan