Opera Volunteers International is a nonprofit volunteer organization that advocates for and supports volunteerism in opera throughout North America and beyond.

OVI works to connect individuals and local opera support organizations so that successful ideas and projects are championed, publicized and shared among our members.  Through donations and fundraising, OVI has been able to offer matching grants to member groups for projects involving volunteers.  Non-monetary awards – Partners in Excellence and Projects of Special Merit – recognize outstanding contributions and efforts in support of opera.

Opera Volunteers International holds person to person meetings twice each year in different cities in North America.

A Short History

Opera Volunteers International began as Opera Guilds International in the early 1970’s, when a farsighted president of the Seattle Opera Guild found her guild struggling with growing pains. Her conversations and communications with other groups serving other opera companies made her realize the need for a gathering of volunteers to share information and ideas.

As a result, the first International Conference for Opera Guilds was held in Seattle in 1972 attended by 30 delegates representing 18 opera companies. The second convened in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1973, and at the third, in Toronto 1974, the group formally adopted a charter, chose a name and elected its first officers. Since that time, the organization has grown and prospered.

Its many and varied programs and events have furthered its mission to stimulate interest and support of opera through volunteerism, and to connect support groups, individual volunteers, donors, company staff and everyone interested in supporting the present and expanding the future of opera.

In 2000, OGI began a collaborative relationship with OPERA America. In 2004, recognizing that this association could not focus enough attention on volunteerism, it re-established itself as an independent volunteer organization, Opera Volunteers International.  OVI maintains close ties to OPERA America, partnering with them for our joint conference in the spring while maintaining its own not-for-profit, tax exempt status.

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