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Chelsea Opera was formed in April 2004 by Leonarda Priore and Lynne Hayden-Findlay, both singers, who felt that performance opportunities within the tri-state area were few and far between. They believed the market would sustain a small-sized opera company and envisioned creating one which offered singers the opportunity to perform in fully staged operas with orchestra in a professional, respectful and encouraging environment. In only six weeks, all of the production elements were pulled together, sometimes it seemed, almost miraculously.

A fully-staged production of Puccini's Suor Angelica opened on June 3, 2004 and was successful in achieving its goal of bringing the essentials of fine opera to the stage: great singing in a moving performance led by a talented young maestro, Carmine Aufiero, who continues to serve the company as Music Director/Conductor.

At that point, Chelsea Opera actually existed in name only. Following Suor Angelica many inquiries were received asking what Chelsea Opera was planning to present next. Deciding to advance the company, a corporation was formed and shortly thereafter, not-for-profit status was granted.

Chelsea Opera now produces two main stage productions each season with the addition if its thematically based concert series,"Chelsea Opera presents..." which provides additional supportive and unencumbered performance opportunities for singers and instrumentalists. These concerts are designed to compliment main stage productions and represent supplemental occasions to present the genre to first-time audiences. 

Chelsea Opera’s reputation has been recognized by the industry for the quality of its work and has received favorable reviews and commentary by The New York Times, Opera America, America Oggi (see press links) to name a few, and by those involved in and attending each production at every level.


Chelsea Opera is a professional opera company which produces fully staged operas with chamber orchestra, a concert series and other musical endeavors.

Founded in 2004 by professional singers Lynne Hayden-Findlay and Leonarda Priore, Chelsea Opera serves two constituencies: singers and opera audiences. For singers, Chelsea Opera has given hundreds of artists the chance to practice their craft in a supportive professional setting in a NYC venue with chamber orchestra. For audiences, Chelsea Opera’s productions of new and classic repertoire provide enthusiasts and newcomers the chance to see high quality productions with chamber orchestra in a relaxed and welcoming location with ticket prices that are affordable to a broad spectrum of the community. Performances take place in locations where the intimacy and superior acoustics make the experience exceedingly attractive for all involved.

Chelsea Opera is a small opera company committed to breaking down barriers with opera and music. We welcome your interest and involvement. Come see, hear and share the magic we make.

The experience will touch your heart!

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