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Irene Dalis

OSJ's Founder

Irene Dalis, before her retirement from the stage in 1977, was a principal artist at New York’s Metropolitan Opera for twenty consecutive seasons, appeared regularly with Covent Garden, Berlin, Hamburg, Bayreuth and other major opera houses in Europe and the U. S. and was distinguished by the range and large number of roles in her repertoire.

She had her operatic debut in Oldenburg, West Germany, in 1953 as Princess Eboli in Verdi’s epic, Don Carlo. By the end of her career she had performed in every major opera house from Naples to San Francisco…

About Opera San José

Opera San José is a professional opera company located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Singular in the United States, Opera San José maintains a resident company of principal artists serving as an incubator for emerging operatic talent. Opera San José presents mainstage productions and concerts, and maintains extensive educational programs for the community at large. Most recently, the company has developed the Heiman Digital Media Studio and Initiative.  This fully outfitted media lab allows for a new programming arm of the company to produced and design works specifically for digital capture.

Opera San José was founded in 1984 by mezzo-soprano late Irene Dalis, who served as General Director for 30 years. Maestro David Rohrbaugh was a founding member of Opera San José’s artistic staff. Prior to his retirement in 2014, Dr. Rohrbaugh conducted more than 70 productions and more than 600 performances for Opera San José. Upon Ms. Dalis’ retirement in 2014, Larry Hancock stepped into the role of General Director and Joseph Marcheso was named as Music Director and Principal Conductor. Upon Mr. Hancock’s retirement in Fall 2019, Khori Dastoor, assumed the position of General Director.

Opera San José maintains four performance programs: a mainstage subscription series of four operas; a digital programming arm that includes fully produced operas and recitals; a richly varied curriculum of educational programs for youth and adults; community-wide performances that include outdoor concerts and events, serving the public as well as private organizations.

At the conclusion of the 2019-20 season (its 36th), Opera San José presented 150 opera productions, including five world premieres among the 62 titles in its repertoire. The number of K-12 educational performances over the same period will amount to more than 2,350. Community programming for adult audiences will total nearly 3,400 performances. The company has commissioned and produced seven world premieres, and has presented six west coast premieres.  In March of 2019, in the onset of COVID-19, the company announced its first performance cancelation in its history simultaneously launching the COVID-19 Artists and Musician Relief Fund one of the first of its kind in the nation.

On September 18, 2004, Opera San José opened its debut season in the California Theatre. The 1,100-seat auditorium joins the select ranks of the world’s most intimate opera houses. The California Theatre was a 1927 vaudeville and film house that closed its doors in the 1990s. After a meticulous reconstruction and restoration, the California Theatre was returned to use as one of the region’s most important performance facilities. On July 11, 2020 Opera San José premiered its first digital program produced and captured in the Fred Heiman Digital Media Studio located in the company’s rehearsal and administrative buiding.

Well managed from its inception, Opera San José has never incurred debt. The company has continually nurtured a modest cash reserve and has acquired, two 24,000 sq. ft. operations facilities, and two apartment buildings used for artist housing. The company received notification on Nov. 1, 2019 that it had received another four-star rating from Charity Navigator for its record of responsible fiscal management, its ninth four-star rating in a ten-year period.

Mission Statement

Opera San José is dedicated to maintaining a resident company of opera singers with whom we present compelling, professional opera performances, while creating and providing cultural and educational programs that both enrich the opera-going experience and encourage future generations of artists and audiences. Opera San José also provides technical assistance to other organizations.


Founded in 1984, Opera San José is unique in that it is the only year-long resident opera company in the nation. Members of the resident company form the core of the artistic staff for main-stage productions as well as educational programs.


Opera San José will:
1. Maintain a professional, fiscally responsible opera company of artistic excellence for San  José and its environs;
2. Discover, retain and develop outstanding, emerging professional singers;
3. Provide these singers with repeated performance opportunities;
4. Develop, entertain, and educate audiences from the extended community.

Modified and approved by the Opera San José Board of Directors on April 22, 2015.


Dichterliebe (R. Schumann)
Three Decembers (Heggie)
The Parting Glass
Love & Secrets: A Domestic Trilogy
Sing for Your Supper

Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss)
Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck)
Il trovatore (Verdi)

2018 – 2019
The Abduction from the Seraglio (Mozart) (1)
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo)
Moby-Dick (Heggie & Scheer) (1)
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)

2017 – 2018
Così fan tutte (Mozart)
La rondine (Puccini)
Cinderella (Alma Deutscher) (3)
The Flying Dutchman (Wagner)
La traviata (Verdi)

2016 – 2017
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
The Barber of Seville (Rossini)
Silent Night (Puts and Campbell) (2)
La bohème (Puccini)

2015 – 2016
Tosca (Puccini)
The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)
Carmen (Bizet)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Previn)*

2014 – 2015
Rigoletto (Verdi)
The Italian Girl in Algiers (Rossini)*
Where Angels Fear
to Tread
The Magic Flute (Mozart)

2013 – 2014
Falstaff (Verdi)
Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck)
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)
Don Giovanni (Mozart)

2012 – 2013
The Pearl Fishers (Bizet)
Die Fledermaus (Strauss)
Il trovatore (Verdi)
Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi (Puccini)

2011 – 2012
Idomeneo (Mozart)*
La voix humaine & Pagliacci (Poulenc/Leoncavallo)
La traviata (Verdi)
Faust (Gounod)

2010 – 2011
Anna Karenina (David Carlson) (2)
Tosca (Puccini)
The Barber of Seville (Rossini)
La bohème (Puccini)

2009 – 2010

Manon (Massenet)
La Cenerentola (Rossini)
The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)
La rondine* (Puccini)

2008 – 2009
Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)
The Elixir of Love (Donizetti)
Così fan tutte (Mozart)

2007 – 2008
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
Werther (Massenet)*
Rigoletto (Verdi)
The Magic Flute (Mozart)

2006 – 2007
Roméo et Juliette (Gounod)
The Barber of Seville (Rossini)
La traviata (Verdi)
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)

2005 – 2006
The Crucible (Ward)*
Un ballo in maschera (Verdi)
La bohème (Puccini)
Don Giovanni (Mozart)

2004 – 2005
(First season in California Theatre)
Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart)
Tosca (Puccini)
Carmen (Bizet)
The Flying Dutchman (Wagner)*

2003 – 2004
Don Pasquale (Donizetti)
Double Bill:
Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni)* with
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo)
Les pêcheurs de perles (Bizet)
Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss)

2002 – 2003
La Cenerentola (Rossini)*
Faust (Gounod)
Il trovatore (Verdi)*
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)

2001 – 2002
Falstaff (Verdi)*
Così fan tutte (Mozart)
Manon (Massenet)*
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)

2000 – 2001
Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)
L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti)
Rigoletto (Verdi)
La bohème (Puccini)

1999 – 2000
Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)
The Tale of the Nutcracker (Bohmler)*(1)
Carmen (Bizet)
La traviata (Verdi)

1998 – 1999
The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky)*
Roméo et Juliette (Gounod)*
Don Giovanni (Mozart)
The Merry Widow (Lehár)

1997 – 1998
Of Mice and Men (Floyd)*
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)*
Il Turco in Italia (Rossini)*
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)

1996 – 1997
Xerxes (Handel)*
Double Bill:
La Voix Humaine (Poulenc)*
and Pagliacci (Leoncavallo)*
Faust (Gounod)*
La bohème (Puccini)

1995 – 1996
Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)*
Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss)
Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart)
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)

1994 – 1995
Les pêcheurs de perles (Bizet)
Carmen (Bizet)*
Così fan tutte (Mozart)
La traviata (Verdi)

1993 – 1994
Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)
Tartuffe (Mechem)
Rigoletto (Verdi)*
Don Giovanni (Mozart)*

1992 – 1993
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
Phaedra (Roumanis)* (1)
The Merry Widow (Lehar)
La bohème (Puccini)

1991 – 1992
Popol Vuh (Strange) *(1)
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)*
The Turn of the Screw (Britten)*
Double Bill:
Il tabarro* and Gianni Schicchi (Puccini)
Un ballo in maschera (Verdi)*

1990 – 1991
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)
Vanessa (Barber)*
L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti)
L’Ormindo (Cavalli)*

1989 – 1990
La traviata (Verdi)
Hotel Eden (Mollicone)*(1)
Les pêcheurs de perles (Bizet)*
Così fan tutte (Mozart)

1988 – 1989
La bohème (Puccini)
West of Washington Square (Henderson)*(1)
Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)*
Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss)

1987 – 1988
Tosca (Puccini)*
The Medium (Menotti)*
Don Pasquale (Donizetti)*
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)

1986 – 1987
Double Bill:
Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi (Puccini)
Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart)*
The Merry Widow (Lehar)*
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)

1985 – 1986
Madama Butterfly (Puccini)*
Tartuffe (Mechem)*
L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti)*
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)
Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck)*

1984 – 1985
(First season as Opera San José)
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)*
Albert Herring (Britten)*
La traviata (Verdi)*
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)

1983 – 1984
(San Jose Opera Theater)
La bohème (Puccini)*
Double Bill: La serva padrona (Pergolesi)*
and The Old Maid and the Thief (Menotti)
Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss)*
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)

1982 – 1983
(San Jose Community Opera Theatre)
Double Bill:
Seven Joys of Christmas (Mechem)* and
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)
Double Bill: The Scarf (Hoiby)*(2) and
Harrison Loved His Umbrella (Hollingsworth)*
Cosi fan tutte (Mozart)*

1981 – 1982
(SJSU Opera Workshop)
Double Bill: Trouble in Tahiti (Bernstein)* and
The Old Maid and the Thief (Menotti)*
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)
Double Bill: Suor Angelica (Puccini)* and
Rita (Donizetti)*
Triple Bill: Hin und zurück (Hindemith)* and
The Little Harlequinade (Salieri)* and
La cantarina (Haydn)*

1980 – 1981
(SJSU Opera Workshop)
The Secret Marriage (Cimarosa)*
Double Bill: Many Moons (Doughtery)* and
Rising Stars” (revue)*
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti)*

1979 – 1980
(SJSU Opera Workshop)
Triple Bill: The Impresario (Mozart)*
Chanticleer (Barab)*(2)
Signor Deluso (Pasatieri)*
Dido and Aeneas (Purcell)*

1978 – 1979
(SJSU Opera Workshop – CPA)
Double Bill: The Mother (Hollingsworth)*(2)
Gianni Schicchi (Puccini)*
The Last Leaf (Henderson)*(1)