Miami Lyric Opera is ringing down the curtain after 22 seasons

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Raffaele Cardone founded Miami Lyric Opera in 2002 and has brought hundreds of opera performances to Miami audiences since then.

Miami Lyric Opera, the upstart troupe that provided idiomatic and often inspiring performances of Italian opera  and provided a career springboard for talented local artists is no more.

Raffaele Cardone, the founder and long-time general and artistic director of MLO has announced that he is closing the company down after 22 years. Last November’s double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Puccini’s Suor Angelica was the company’s final show.

Cardone said the main reason for closing the company was, no surprise, money difficulties.

“The principal reason is financing—not enough being available to make a decent production,” said Cardone. “Venue, labor, musicians and artist costs and others, have all increased.”

He also said that he has been put off by the revisionist stagings that so many companies are now presenting. “I have a great respect for the opera as originally conceived and accept updates as far as staging technology,” he said. “Nevertheless, I cannot accept the new tendencies being pushed to the audience.”

Miami Lyric Opera provided opportunities for budding opera singers, many of them local artists who have gone on to major careers. These include baritone Nelson Martinez and tenor Mario Chang, both of whom have sung at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. (Chang also starred in Palm Beach Opera’s season-opening Tosca in January.)

Highlights over the last two decades include Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz with Chang, a terrific double bill of Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi. There was also an idiomatic and deftly staged La Cenerentola and a red-blooded Lucia di Lammermoor with Eglise Gutierrez, Martin Nusspaumer and Nelson Martinez singing their hearts out.

Cardone said he is looking forward to his long-belated full-time retirement.

“I am almost 90 and in excellent health,” he said. “I recognize that this is the right moment to retire from producing opera. 

“But I will continue to provide my experience to new talents while enjoying my grandchildren and listening to good music.”

Lawrence Budmen contributed to this report.

Posted in News

5 Responses to “Miami Lyric Opera is ringing down the curtain after 22 seasons”

  1. Posted Apr 02, 2024 at 9:44 am by Wayne Rivera

    Buona fortuna e tante belle cose

  2. Posted Apr 02, 2024 at 3:53 pm by Miriam. Codias

    I loved every minute of my participation! I am going to miss MLO and primarily you and Pablo and the members of the Chorus! I definitely miss our time together, already, but the memories will stay with me forever! Thank you Mr Cardone, I love you! 💕❤️😘

  3. Posted Apr 02, 2024 at 6:00 pm by Alexandra von Szadkowski

    I‘ve been singing with the opera chorus for almost 16 years and it was not only an honor but also a big pleasure to work with Pablo Hernandez our passionate and engaged chorus master and Maestro Raffaele Cardone.

    They never got tired to present Italian Opera to Miami’s audience in a beautiful and enthusiastic way.

    Thank you–both of you!

  4. Posted Apr 03, 2024 at 8:17 am by Alejandra Cossío del Pino

    Well deserved retirement after leaving a legacy of art and love. Most grateful for your dedication to bringing opera to the audiences that will forever applaud your fervor.

    Wishing you many more years of sharing with your loved ones. My eternal gratitude to you and hope someday someone will pick up that flaming torch inspired in your love for the arts and keep bringing high caliber opera performances to our community.

  5. Posted Apr 03, 2024 at 11:39 am by Daniel Fernandez

    So sorry to say farewell to such a good company and its director. But he is right, costs are higher and the audience have been put off by the absurd modern staging. Cardone productions were traditional and some of the highest quality.

    I will treasure in my memory some of the best Tosca, Boheme and Carmen that I have seen. Bravo Cardone for your great service to the culture of Miami and the opera.

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