The mission of Washington Concert Opera is to provide a secure home for rarely performed operatic masterpieces, to give established artists the opportunity to perform in debut roles as well as signature roles, and to introduce the exceptional talents of emerging artists.



Founded in 1986 by Stephen Crout, Washington Concert Opera has shaped the way concert opera is presented in the DC area.

Washington Concert Opera produces high quality, seldom performed masterpieces of the operatic repertoire in concert form at the company’s artistic home, Lisner Auditorium of George Washington University. WCO has been revered as, “integral to the musical fabric of the city” (The Washington Post) and praised by Opera News for, “performances of the highest order.” 

Washington Concert Opera has performed nearly 60 operas in concert format, with a roster of world-renowned artists including Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, Renée Fleming, Michael Fabiano, Elizabeth Futral, Denyce Graves, Ben Heppner, Deborah Voigt, and more.  

Washington Concert Opera is committed to making opera vital and relevant for all audiences, and strives to become a nationally and internationally recognized opera company by making exceptional contributions to the field through its distinctive mission. WCO has undergone initiatives to blend opera into the community by partnering with local elementary and secondary schools to introduce young people to opera. A young professionals group provides not only discounts for members, but also networking opportunities in a dynamic and fun environment. Partnerships with local universities give students knowledge in the field of opera and expand their professional development.

Looking to the future, Washington Concert Opera will continue to provide outstanding performances for years to come. The programs and educational endeavors, which are the staple of the organization, are expanding at an exponential rate. The exceptional performances we are known for will continue to delight audiences and build an ever-growing cultural life into the area. Through many community partnerships, WCO will serve its community in ways that uplift the life and sense of well-being for all.