Princeton Friends of Opera is a 501 (c) (3) organization whose mission is to support these activities in Princeton and the Central New Jersey area:
In the spring of 2002, the Opera Festival of New Jersey decided to organize a loosely knit group of volunteers into a formal organization that would provide both volunteer and development support for the Festival. In a few months, the Opera Festival of New Jersey Guild, as it was called, raised over $6,000 for support of the 2003 season. In addition, members worked on the Silent Auction which raised over $25,000 for the Festival. Members also assisted with the opening night gala, sewed costumes for the 2003 Opera Festival productions, worked on mailings, and produced a newsletter.
In October 2003, the Board of Directors of the Festival decided to close the company because of overwhelming financial difficulties. The Guild, then 93 member households strong, was left without a cause. The Steering Committee of the Guild met various times in the fall of 2003 and decided to continue as an independent organization of opera lovers supporting opera in the central New Jersey area. We renamed ourselves Princeton Friends of Opera. Plans for a holiday party went ahead, and raised over $3,800.
The question was: What were we raising that money for? Over the winter, the Committee met several more times and hammered out a mission statement and program. In keeping with that mission, we sponsored a performance of New Jersey Opera Theater's production of The Magic Flute for children. Over 50 children attended, along with parents, some of whom later became members. Later, in January, a group of 12 members attended a performance of Don Carlo at the Philadelphia Opera, preceded by a brunch. We sponsored a lecture at Westminster Choir College on Mark Adamo's Little Women, and later attended the opera performance. Subsequently, Princeton Friends of Opera contributed $500 to the Westminster opera program. We also contributed $100 to the Metropolitan Opera Broadcast Fund.
In the Summer of 2004, we received tax exempt status under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In subsequent years, PFO has supported local opera productions of Opera New Jersey and The Princeton Festival. We have provided scholarship money for Westminster Choir College of Ryder University's CoOPERAtive program and Trenton Children's Chorus. Money also has been donated to support new opera development through American Opera Projects. Princeton Friends of Opera continues to present outstanding lectures to members and friends on a wide variety of opera topics, as well as trips to live opera productions and The Metropolitan Opera HD movies. With over sixty-five member families, PFO is a viable member of the Princeton arts community.