The Center for Contemporary Opera was formed in November 1982 by Richard Marshall who was the General and Artistic Director of Opera Carolina in Charlotte. He started CCO due to the lack of opportunities for contemporary opera in the United States. The composer Robert Ward agreed to serve as our first President of the Board. Acting on the advice of the National Opera Institute, Marshall moved to New York City to start his new company.
On March 1985, CCO presented its very first opera, The Face on the Barroom Floor by Henry Mollicone at the Fourth Universalist Society near Central Park. Other works quickly followed such as The Good Soldier Schweik by Robert Kurka and Ned Rorem’s Three Sisters who are not Sisters.
CCO’s initiatives included a publication, Opera Today, a program to recognize exceptional service to contemporary opera, and The International Opera Singers Competition held at Carnegie Hall. Ruth Golden, a leading soprano at New York City Opera was its first winner.
“November 1986 saw our first world premiere, Faustus by Roger Rudenstein.”