Lahti Opera Association is one of Finlands oldest regional opera companies. It was founded 1962 by an enthousiastic group of opera lovers, ranging from amateurs to opera professionals. A semi-professional company, Lahti Opera produces a full opera every 1-2 years, in close co-operation with Lahti Symphonic Orchestra (Lahti Sinfonia), Lahti City Theatre and Lahti Conservatory (Concis). Il Trovatore (Verdi) in 2012 was 33rd full opera produced by Lahti Opera.
Lahti Opera Chorus has sung in every Lahti opera production from 1963 to present. In addition it has performed various choral works (Verdi: Requiem, Orff: Carmina Burana etc.) and opera concerts with Lahti Symphony. Lahti Opera Chorus sings also in the Lahti Symphony recording of Sibelius: Music to the Shakespeare play The Tempest (BIS). The recording was awarded the international Grand Prix du Disque 1993. The singers of Lahti Opera Chorus have been chosen by audition and are a mix of music professionals and opera loving amateur singers.
The aim of Lahti Opera Association is to encourage and produce opera in all its forms and and make it an attainable art form to everyone in the Lahti region. In a vast country with only one fully professional opera (The Finnish National Opera in the capital Helsinki) the regional semi-professional companies have a huge responsibility to maintain the art of opera available for audiences outside the nations capital.
Lahti Opera Association is a non-profit organization with no full-time employees. It is run by the Board (7 members) and the Chairperson, both elected by the members of the Association. Current Chair of the Board is Mr. Markku Veneskari. Board members are Vice-Chair Ms. Outi Leppänen (MMus), Secretary of the Board, Mrs. Tiina Vilkuna-Rössi, Ms. Pirjo Leppänen (MMus), Mrs. Anne Majaniemi, Ms. Lena Nikkilä and Ms. Marja Äikäs. The Associations functions are based mostly on volunteer work. Employees are hired mainly for full opera productions.