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Center Opera Collection

Identifier: PA010

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes board meeting minutes, financial statements and records, annual reports, correspondence, membership information, memoranda and correspondence on speakers, ticket sales information, information about educational and publicity activities, programs and photographs. There are some records from when the company transitioned to the Minnesota Opera. The organizational records of the Minnesota Opera are in a seperate collection within the Performing Arts Archives. Please contact the archivist for more information.


  • 1966-1972


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the copyright holder.

Historical Note

The Center Opera Company of Minnesota was founded by the Walker Center Arts Council in 1963. The company's first production occurred when the Walker Art Center commissioned Dominick Argento to compose the opera, Masque of Angels, for the Walker's performing arts program. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dr. H. Wesley Balk, Center Opera continued to commission and focus on new works and/or new interpretations of existing works. Because of its relationship to the Walker Art Center, many Center Opera productions were heavily influenced by the work of then contemporary visual artists and designers as well. Center Opera was a nationally-recognized opera company known for its progressive productions of new or alternative music-theater throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 1969, Center Opera became independent from the Walker Arts Center. The organization began to program more traditional operatic repertoire, and changed its name to Minnesota Opera in 1972.


1 Linear foot (1 box)


Collection includes programs, publicity, news releases, and administrative records from the Center Opera Company, now known as the Minnesota Opera.

Physical Location



Collection was donated by Dr. Carl Sheppard and Lana King in 1972.

Related Materials

Related collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries include: Minnesota Opera records (PA###).

Archives related to the Center Opera Company can also be found at the Walker Art Center Archives, Minneapolis.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Kathryn Hujda, 2017, with generous support from Creative Heritage Initiative donors.

Center Opera Collection
Kathryn Hujda
February 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Performing Arts Archives Collecting Area