LAKE ERIE OPERA THEATER offered Cleveland opera-goers 6 short seasons of adventurous programming from 1964-70. Prompted by the success of native Clevelander Robert Ward's The Crucible at the May Festival of Contemporary Art in 1963, CLEVELAND MUSIC SCHOOL SETTLEMENT director HOWARD WHITTAKER organized the new company the following year. Utilizing members of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA playing in the pit at SEVERANCE HALL, Lake Erie Opera Theater opened in Sept. 1964 with the Cleveland premiere of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. Instituted with the aim of giving Clevelanders a chance to see works generally ignored by the touring Metropolitan Opera (see NORTHERN OHIO OPERA ASSN.), the company in following seasons gave local premieres of Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges, Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Strauss's Capriccio. Two operas were generally given each Sept., sung in English and directed by Louis Lane or Michael Charry of the Cleveland Orchestra's conducting staff. Former Clevelander Boris Goldovsky returned in 1968 to conduct Smetana's The Bartered Bride. Performances were also scheduled for schoolchildren and the Cleveland Summer Arts Festival. Due to lack of funding, the company disbanded after its production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte in 1970.