Opera Omaha, the only professional opera company in Nebraska, began in 1958 as the Omaha Civic Opera Society, a volunteer association. With tremendous community support, it became a fully professional opera company by 1970. From the beginning, Opera Omaha was instilled with a spirit of adventure. In the Civic Opera Society’s first season (1958-1959) along with its premiere production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in the Joslyn Art Museum Concert Hall, additional performances followed: Puccini’s Tosca, held at Boys Town; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, at Ak-Sar-Ben; and Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel at Technical High School.
The original directors of the corporation were Francis P. Matthews, Henry E. Pusch, Homer C. Rogers, Lloyd E. Skinner (President), and Richard Valente.