The NORTHERN OHIO OPERA ASSN. was organized in 1927 to sponsor the annual visits to Cleveland of New York's Metropolitan Opera Co. Prior to its formation, the "Met" had paid 4 sporadic visits to Cleveland from 1899-1911. The Metropolitan tours acquired permanence in Apr. 1924, when an ad hoc group of sponsors headed by NEWTON D. BAKER arranged for performances in Cleveland's vast, newly opened Public Hall. Under the leadership of ROBT. J. BULKLEY, the Northern Ohio Opera Assn. came into being in 1927 to underwrite a newly signed 5-year contract with the Met. Thanks to the cavernous size of the local "opera house," Cleveland became the Met's most profitable tour stop, and its guarantors were never called upon to make up a deficit. Cleveland set a Metropolitan Opera attendance record with 8,583 for a performance of The Barber of Seville in 1946, when a weekly attendance record of 72,690 was also claimed. With the exception of the Depression years 1933-36, the Met continued its annual spring calls through 62 seasons by 1986. Of the 89 different operas presented here, Aida was the perennial favorite, with 29 performances, followed by Carmen and La Traviata, with 24 apiece. Answering the prayers of generations of music critics, the NOOA moved the Met seasons into the smaller STATE THEATER, which the Met reopened with a performance of Britten's Peter Grimes on 11 June 1984. It proved to be a brief millennium, as the Metropolitan abandoned its annual tours following the 1986 season, and the Northern Ohio Opera Assn. was formally dissolved in 1990.
Northern Ohio Opera Assn. Records, WRHS.