Pittsburgh Opera and National Opera House Announce New Partnership

By Francisco Salazar

Pittsburgh Opera and the National Opera House have announced a long-term programmatic and strategic partnership.

The National Opera House is the steward of the legacy of the National Negro Opera Company, the first African-American opera company in the United States and was founded in Pittsburgh by Mary Cardwell Dawson in 1941 and operated until her death in 1962.

The House, located in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2020 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, and is the subject of a massive rehabilitation effort.

The new partnership will include developing curricula and programming in music education, artistic development, and community engagement.

In a statement Owner of the NOH President Jonnet Solomo said, “This coming together of our two organizations is monumental. Mary Cardwell Dawson wanted a stage for us all and because that couldn’t happen in her time, the National Negro Opera Company was created. The time for reconciliation is never too late and when it happens, it bridges the gap that once existed.”

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn said, “I am thrilled we’ve been able to establish this meaningful partnership. We’re excited to develop purposeful initiatives to connect with, and support, the Homewood neighborhood and Pittsburgh in general. The historical importance of the National Negro Opera Company House is something to be cherished here in Pittsburgh and throughout the nation. We look forward to achieving our shared goal of bringing the beauty and magic of opera to the entire community, together.”