Opera NOVA's roots go back to 1962, when a group of volunteers sensing a cultural vacuum in Northern Virgini formed the Opera Theatre of N. VA (OTNV). In the early 1970's when Catherine Filene Shouse established Wolf Trap, the first national park for the performing arts, she contacted the young OTNV with her vision to break down the social barriers for access to America's cultural heritage.
The Opera Guild of Northern (OGNV) incorporated in 1991 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a volunteer-based non-profit charitable organization with IRS 501 (c) 3 status. It was formed as an independent organization, yet supporting of the Opera Theater of Northern Virginia (OTNV). OTNV began offering an annual theater performance of an age-appropriate opera for young school students in 1974. By 1992 the Guild immersed itself in all aspects for supporting this unique community offering to school children’s education. On July 1, 2011 the OTNV closed. By October 2011 the Guild was reorganized and had absorbed a small opera company, Zarsuela Di Ci and its Artistic Director, Jose Sacin, and performed the Children's "Opera Monkey See, Monkey Do" to over 3,000 school children in Arlington VA.