Our Mission Statement: Ardea Arts creates and produces provocative new works of music-theater and opera to entertain, challenge, and inspire today’s diverse global community, uplift the human spirit, and encourage new ways of seeing our world.

Ardea Arts is an incubator of groundbreaking, new opera-works redefining American Opera within a contemporary vernacular framework. Our mission is to make the opera experience accessible but challenging to widely diverse audiences of all ages. New work is made by exciting, unexpected artists who speak to these audiences through the medium of opera. Opera bursts forth with our own cultures and resonates with our own languages—enchanting, challenging, and inspiring multi-generational audiences, and makes us laugh, cry, and acknowledge who we are. These are the same ideas that inspired the beginnings of opera back in 1590, and they are what we strive to re-capture in these new works by the artists of today.

Ardea Arts and its founding director Grethe Barrett Holby have been tackling difficult issues through the arts since 1995—spearheading, commissioning, developing, and producing opera and music-theater works for youth, family, and under-served audiences. To this end, we involve communities to the greatest extent possible in the process and performance of the work. We engage composers, writers, designers, singers, musicians, tech crew, and digital artists to collaborate on these new works. Ardea Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit / charitable organization.


Family Opera Initiative (FOI) is a program created by Ardea Arts to bring to a widely diverse audience the opera experience in the form of new, original American “opera-musicals” that are accessible but challenging, made by exciting, unexpected artists, who speak to this audience through the artistic media of opera: music, words, theater, and visuals, with subject matter that matters.

The Family Opera Initiative was established by producer, stage director, choreographer and dramaturge Grethe Barrett Holby at American Opera Projects in 1995, as a means to reach out and develop new audiences for opera. FOI’s repertory consists of CAT (2010), Flurry Tale (1999), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2001), Fireworks! (2002), and Animal Tales (2005)


GOVERNMENT: The National Endowment for the Arts

LEADERS: J. Speed Carroll, The Jaffe Family Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Elgort

PARTNERS: Lynn Schneider

SPONSORS: OPERA America: The Opera Fund; Patricia Deans; Aase H Holby


DIAMOND MEMBERS: The Michaelcheck Family Foundation

PLATINUM: Amy & Ronald Guttman, The Jody & John Arnhold, Robert L. Turner, Lion's Pride Foundation

GOLD: Martin and Jean Shafiroff, Siamak & Angela Samii, Raymond F. Steckel, Wegard Holby, Nicole S. Campbell; Michelle Childs; Laurie M Tisch Illumination Fund

SILVER: Andrew & Emily Gerson-Saines, Merle and Leslie Rabine, Melissa A. Geiger, Susan MacEachron, Beth Wittig, The Nir & Braufman Family Foundation, Joyce & Barry Cohen , Deborah Hearst, Jill Steinberg

BRONZE: Michael Loeb, Sylvia Ander, William & Meredith Mayer, Norman Boyd, Andy Arkin & Nancy Vines, Katherine Komaroff Goodman, Nicasio Del Castillo, Yolanda & Lenny Variano, Peter J. Wender, Dr. & Mrs. Lawrence Schechter, Stephen & Anne Whitehouse, Alexandra & Paul Herzan, Franco Colavecchia, Jane Comfort, Marie Reynolds, John Rockwell, Dhiren & Katherine Shah, Scott A. Dunn, Raymond Wetmore

Ardea Arts deeply thanks and appreciates the many foundations, individuals, community partners, and sponsors that have brought us this far, including, but not limited to:

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