Maria Todaro has been immersed in opera since the day she was born. Now, Todaro, the daughter of Italian opera singer Jose Todaro and Brazilian mezzo-soprano Maria-Helena de Oliveira is coming to South Florida to serve as interim general director of Florida Grand Opera.
In September, Susan T. Danis, FGO’s General Director and CEO since October of 2012 announced that she would be leaving her position, but would remain with the company through a transition period with the opening of FGO’s 2023-24 season, which begins its 82nd season on Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Adrienne Arsht Center with “La Traviata.”
The board of directors announced at the time of Danis’ resignation that they had formed a search committee to find her replacement. The board announced Wednesday that Todaro will helm the company through its 2023-24 season.
Todaro co-founded the Hudson Valley (N.Y.) International Festival of the Voice in 2009 and serves as its general director.
“It was obvious to us that she is the right person to build on the legacy of Susan T. Danis and guide our beloved opera throughout this season,” said Per-Olof Lööf, president of the FGO Board of Directors in a statement. “With her well-established background in so many different aspects of the opera industry, we know Maria’s talent and experience will generate the same admiration throughout the South Florida community that it has in the supporters and stakeholders of Florida Grand Opera.”
Opera, you could say, is in blood. In addition to her parents’ careers in the field, Todaro’s grandmother, Helena de Oliveira, headed the International Vocal and Piano Competition of Rio de Janeiro.
Todaro began her professional life in opera as a mezzo-soprano and entrepreneur, founding the production company Arteodor in France and later embarking on a stage directing career.
The versatile artist has directed 23 productions for companies such as Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Hawaii Opera Theater. Over a span of ten years, Todaro has also staged 16 original productions and collaborated as librettist with composer Mitch Bach to write an opera based on “The Three Musketeers.”
She is married to international baritone Louis Otey, whom she met when they shared a singing engagement.
“I am truly humbled to have been entrusted with the responsibility of advancing Florida Grand Opera,” said Todaro in a statement, adding that FGO is embarking on an “exciting new phase of growth with the aim of increasing our influence and relevance within our community.”
The Florida Grand Opera opens its 82nd season with “La Traviata” on Saturday, Nov. 11 with performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Also, additional performances are at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 2. For information, go to fgo.org.