In the mid-1950’s, Dr. Arturo di Filippi, the man who was responsible for bringing opera to Miami, Florida, approached a group of women and asked them to form an opera support organization. Thus was born the Young Patronesses of the Opera, a social volunteer organization comprised of over 100 women whose primary goal is to promote opera education and ensure that young people and adults are prepared for what they will see and hear on stage. The formal organization of YPO provides the vital financial and personnel network to enable a variety of opera educational activities to prosper.

A woman with great vision : ROBERTA BALFE

By the time of the official formation of YPO, community interest in opera education had already become quite active, thanks in part to the efforts of Miami’s grand opera enthusiast, Roberta Rymer Balfe, (1917-2004).  founding member of YPO who served as our second president  Ms. Balfe was an educator, patron, musician, and visionary who shared the joy of opera with everyone.  It was Roberta who set the foundation of many of YPO’s programs  such as Opera Previews, Junior Opera Guild, Girl Scout Previews, Teachers’ Workshops and Opera Funtimes. She also conceived the idea of the “Florida Family Opera,” for the Greater Miami Opera. These were full opera presentations (known as the National Series) which were sung in English and were geared to family attendance.

During the 1994 opera season, the Greater Miami Opera and the Opera Guild, Inc., of Fort Lauderdale formed the FLORIDA GRAND OPERA, INC., making the FGO the tenth largest opera company in the United States. The formation of FGO ensures the production of grand opera of exceptional artistic quality in two performing arts centers in South Florida.

As a long time supporter of the Florida Grand Opera (FGO), YPO was awarded the Roberta Balfe Leadership Golden Patron Award in 1993 for having made a lifetime contribution to FGO of over $1,000,000. Because of its many achievements, YPO continues to be one of the most active and successful volunteer groups in the arts community.

For more information of the Florida Grand Opera, click here.

For more information on YPO’s programs, click here.

You can contact YPO at: ypoinfo@ypo-miami.org.