Home > History

Company History

Live Opera was for the most part conventional fare for the privileged few.

An unhealthy situation which Richard Flusser decided must be remedied if opera was to flourish in healthy competition with the other arts.

Bringing about change.

In 1949, he set out to change things by founding the After Dinner Opera Company. In doing this his objective was to produce opera, mostly American and mostly contemporary, and bring it to people all over this country and Europe. He wanted to make it possible for people to enjoy live opera in place where it had never been performed before.

This has now been done. After Dinner Opera Company has toured in many European cities and from coast to coast in the United States and Canada.

A history of firsts.

After Dinner Opera Company was the first off-Broadway company to be invited to the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in 1956.


Pre-1976 extensive research was conducted to find the earliest American operas to help celebrate the Bicentennial. These operas were produced in conjunction with the New York City Bicentennial Corporation at South Street Historic District and then on to other historic restorations throughout the United States.

Any venue will do.

Performances have been held in venues as different as cramped drawing room size quarters and expansive facilities as the vast amphitheater of the Wollman Memorial in Central Park. None of these differences have affected performance quality.

The ADO was an early performing member of Young Audiences in school performance programs. We now offer assembly and residency performance packages to schools directly through our offices.

Ever expanding, we are proud to say that since 2003, we are now the opera company in residence at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA, under the guidance of Louisa Jonason, performing in Pennsylvania as well as New York City.

Flash forward 64 years and you’ll find us still performing American Operas and World Premiers.