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San Diego Opera Association Records

Identifier: MS-0474

Scope and Contents

The San Diego Opera Association Records (1965-2008) documents the outreach, fundraising, growth and development of the San Diego Opera Association (SDOA), including the SDOA's outreach activities, fundraising, education, and work done in support of the San Diego Opera. It includes budgets, bylaws, correspondence, minutes, committee files, programs, photographs, and scrapbooks. The collection consists of five major series:  Operational Files (1972-2005), Programs and Publications (1972-2008), Photographs (1965-1993), Scrapbooks (1972-2006), and Posters and Artifacts (n.d.).  The Operational Files have four sub-series: Event and Program Files (1975-2005), Minutes (1975-2000), Guilds of the San Diego Opera Association (1972-2001), and Membership Rosters (1972-1985). The Programs and Publications series contains two sub-series: Published Programs (1972-2008) and Other Publications (1973-2002). The Photographs are divided in two sub-series: Events and Programs (1965-1993), and Metropolitan Opera Auditions (1974-1990).

The Operational Files (1972-2005) include four subseries: Event and Program Files (1975-2005), Minutes (1975-2000), Guilds of the San Diego Opera Association (1972-2001), and Membership Rosters (1972-1985). These files document the Association's special programming, outreach activities, and education work, as well as their administrative activities, and the work of various guilds of the SDOA.  The Event and Program Files (1975-2005) document fundraising, finances, community outreach programs, special auditions, and other programming. It consists of budgets, bylaws, Ian Campbell's correspondence, committee files, and other materials. It is filed alphabetically.  The Minutes (1975-2000) document the SDOA's formation, as well as myriad other topics, including fundraising, membership, ticket sales, facilities, and budgets. The Board of Directors and Executive Committee minutes include president's reports and committee reports. The series is filed chronologically. The Guilds of the San Diego Opera Association (1972-2001) series documents the activities of various branch SDOA guilds including the La Jolla, North Coast, Park West, Point Loma, Rancho Bernardo, and Rancho Santa Fe guilds. It includes files on events, the Council of Guilds, fundraising, supplementary programming, community support, financial matters, meeting minutes, agendas, and correspondence, and is filed alphabetically. The Membership Rosters (1972-1985), document SDOA's membership and committee service.  Created annually, each roster is a booklet which contains information on SDOA officers, the board of directors, various committees, the SDO's season for that year, and an alphabetical listing of all SDOA members. Rosters are filed chronologically.

The Programs and Publications (1972-2008) document productions staged at numerous west coast opera companies, and opera in the US in general. It consists of two subseries: Published Programs (1972-2008) and Other Publications (1973-2002). The Published Programs (1972-2008) document productions staged at numerous west coast opera companies, and usually include general background information about individual shows, photos of the production, a cast list, biographies of actors and production staff, the name of the production's theater, background information about the show, and advertisements.  Programs are filed chronologically. The Other Publications (1973-2002) consists primarily of major trade publications, including Opera Briefs, Opera Scene, and Opera People. Publications are filed chronologically.

The Photographs (1965-1993) includes two subseries: Events and Programs (1965-1993) and Metropolitan Opera Auditions (1974-1990). It documents some of the special events and programming organized by SDOA, and the Met Auditions held in San Diego. The Events and Programs (1965-1993) documents some of the special events and supplementary programming organized by SDOA over the years in support of San Diego Opera productions.  They are filed alphabetically by event or program name. The Metropolitan Opera Auditions (1974-1990) primarily consist of headshots submitted by performers participating in the Met Auditions held in San Diego.  They are filed chronologically by audition year.

The Scrapbooks (1972-2006) consist of numerous scrapbooks documenting San Diego Opera history, activities, programs, and events, as well as the activities and programs undertaken at various local opera guilds around San Diego. They include clippings, programs, event invitations, reviews, membership posters, brochures, pamphlets, and other materials.

The Posters and Artifacts (n.d.) consists of production posters documenting performance dates, venue, and individual production graphic design, as well as some assorted artifacts used at SDOA events and programs over the years.


  • Creation: 1965-2008


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

Formed in 1974 out of the dissolution of the San Diego Opera Guild (1950-1974) and San Diego Opera, Inc. (1966-74), the San Diego Opera Association (SDOA) assumed the responsibilities of both organizations. It is responsible for promoting greater public interest and support of opera, and for supporting the production and presentation of opera in San Diego.

In 1974 the SDOA introduced public memberships, which helped the company to expand, and gave members the privilege of belonging to regional opera guilds around San Diego, based on their place of residence. Governed by the Council of Guilds, these regional guilds enabled the SDOA to continue its community education and outreach work, and to build a fundraising network to support opera in San Diego.

In 1976, with the passing of founding Director Walter Herbert, the SDOA hired General Director Tito Capobianco, formerly of the New York City Opera. Working with Capobianco, the SDOA during this period worked to develop numerous educational and outreach programs, and organized special events which frequently complemented opera productions and series, such as the Verdi Festival and Fanfare. In 1983, the SDOA hired Ian Campbell as General Director, and continues its outreach, education, and support work with Campbell, including the Operation: Opera program, which brings Opera to 100,000 children in San Diego County and Northern Mexico.


29.38 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Operational Files, 1972-2005

     1.) Event and Program Files, 1975-2005

     2.) Minutes, 1975-2000

     3.) Guilds of the San Diego Opera Association, 1972-2001

     4.) Membership Rosters, 1972-1985

II. Programs and Publications, 1972-2008

     1.) Published Programs, 1972-2008

     2.) Other Publications, 1973-2002

III. Photographs, 1965-1993

     1.) Events and Programs, 1965-1993

     2.) Metropolitan Opera Auditions, 1974-1990

IV. Scrapbooks, 1972-2006

V. Posters and Artifacts, n.d.

Custodial History

The San Diego Opera Association Collection was originally donated to the San Diego History Center from 1984 to 2008.  In 2008 it was transferred by the San Diego History Center to San Diego State University Library and Information Access.

Source of Acquisition

San Diego History Center

Accruals and Additions

2008-029, 2013-016, 9999-229

Related Materials

San Diego Opera Guild Records (MS-0476)

San Diego Opera Office Records (MS-0477)

San Diego Opera Association Records
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US