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Florida Grand Opera Appoints Maria Todaro as General Director

The Florida Grand Opera (FGO) has officially named Maria Todaro as its new General Director, following her tenure as Interim General Director since October 2023. The unanimous decision by the FGO Board of Directors to offer Todaro a three-year contract reflects their confidence in her outstanding performance and visionary leadership.

As the oldest producing arts organization in Florida and the seventh-oldest opera company in the United States, the Florida Grand Opera stands on the brink of a transformative era under Todaro's guidance. With over three decades of experience in both European and American opera, Todaro has firmly established herself as a significant figure in the operatic world.

Todaro's illustrious journey in opera began as a singer and quickly transitioned into stage direction, where she has brought numerous acclaimed productions to life and mentored talents such as John Osborn, Lucas Meachem, Ginger Costa Jackson, and Kevin Glavin. Her administrative skills are expected to inject fresh energy into FGO, heralding an exciting chapter for the 82-year-old company.

Tina Vidal-Duart, Chair of the Board, expressed her excitement about Todaro's appointment: "It is an honor to welcome Maria Todaro as the General Director of Florida Grand Opera. Her exceptional talent and visionary approach mark the beginning of an exciting new era for FGO."

Todaro’s extensive background includes founding her first production company, Arteodor, in France at the age of 21, and co-founding the Hudson Valley International Festival of The Voice. Her innovative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as pioneering the USA's first drive-in live opera performance, showcase her ability to adapt and innovate during challenging times.

"Under my leadership, FGO productions will not merely be performances but immersive adventures that uplift and transform lives," Todaro said. "We are committed to fostering unity and honoring FGO’s legacy. Opera, with its timeless allure, serves as a potent bridge, uniting diverse individuals in shared experiences."

Todaro's passion for opera is deeply rooted in her family heritage. She is the daughter of the illustrious Italian opera singer Jose Todaro and Brazilian Mezzo-Soprano Maria-Helena de Oliveira, with her grandmother Helena de Oliveira also contributing to her operatic upbringing. This rich legacy of operatic excellence underpins her vision for FGO’s future.

In her role, Todaro aims to elevate FGO by creating original experiences with unique customer service, focusing on the transformative power of opera to provoke introspection and uplift spirits. She is committed to using FGO’s platform to foster social and emotional development within the community, particularly among the youth. Todaro will personally direct her production of Carmen for the 2024–2025 FGO Season.

Todaro’s distinguished career includes notable productions such as Elixir of Love presented by the Hawaii Opera Theater and the Phoenicia Festival of The Voice. In 2022, she opened the Minnesota Opera season with L'Amant Anonyme, an exceptional Baroque opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, set uniquely in the 18th-century island of Guadeloupe. This homage to the remarkable black composer and his female librettist, Felicite de Genlis, was later revised and translated by Todaro for a performance at the Atlanta Opera in March/April 2023.

Recently, Todaro relocated to Florida with her husband, opera superstar Louis Otey, whom she met during a performance in Brazil 23 years ago. Together, they bring a wealth of experience and passion to the Florida Grand Opera, ensuring a bright and exciting future for the company.

By ML Staff.  Photo credit: Tania Barricklo 


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