What is Petite Opera Productions?

In 2007, three classically-trained vocalist comedians noticed several things about Chicago area opera performances: (1) most companies produced predominantly dramatic works where some poor soprano was destined to die; (2) the majority of opera patrons were devoted patrons, but few new people were being converted to opera lovers, especially youth; and (3) that many potential patrons thought opera was “stuffy and unapproachable”. The three performers had a dream: make opera approachable and fun, save opera heroines from certain deathTM through comic intervention, and convert a whole new generation to opera patrons. Together, they founded Petite Opera Productions, or “POP” for short. The company incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit, and received its tax exempt 501(c)(3) designation in 2008.

Plans were made to produce several full-scale comic operas soon thereafter. Then the economic crisis struck, and immediate production plans were thrust onto the back burner. In place of a full-scale production, the founders began to conceive of a way to spread the news of their musical mirth through means of their own invention—a new art form they call “POPera Spooferetta”. To test the concept, a new original opera libretto was written, and set to music of the operatic masters. Premiering to two interested groups in June 2009, the opera received tremendous patron acclamations.

The group is launching its first official season on October 30, 2009 with the SpooferettaTM “Al Fresco: Life Through Opera-Colored Glasses”.

Petite Opera Productions intends to carry on its mission by exposing grade school, middle school and high school youth to operas in a fun, friendly way, and likewise by reaching their parents and grandparents through fun, comic vocal music genre such as comic opera, operetta, and legitimate musical theatre, as well as our signature SpooferettasTM. We do this by removing all possible barriers to enjoyment such as black tie venues, translation screens, and stories which require a history major to understand. Our performances are in intimate settings, in everyday English, and revolve around situations of today.

If you are interested in becoming a member of our board, production staff, or are interested in auditioning for the group as a performer or instrumentalist, please contact us at

Petite Opera Productions Executive Board
Susan Baushke, President
Janene Bergen, Secretary
Steven Arvanites, Treasurer

© 2009, copyright Petite Opera Productions