Arizona Opera has its roots in 1971 Tucson, where it was founded by a dedicated group of opera enthusiasts. Drawing on a mix of local and regional talent, the company's first General Director, James P. Sullivan, presented an inaugural season featuring two performances of Rossini's Barber of Seville at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall. In just a few short years, the company grew to a three-opera season encompassing nine performances. It was only a matter of time before the show hit the road. By 1975, Arizona Opera was performing regularly in Phoenix as well. With each year, the company stretched a little further, adding performances and educational outreach programs to meet the community's growing demand. In 1982, Arizona Opera took up residence in its current Tucson facility (3501 N. Mountain Ave.), a former Coke bottling plant and grocery store whose open warehouse layout perfectly lent itself to rehearsals, set and costume construction, administrative space and storage. The facility was remodeled in 1997 and in 2001, the hall was named in honor of Ashby Lohse, a tireless supporter of the opera for many years. The appointment of General Director Glynn Ross in 1984 saw a period of artistic growth that peaked with Arizona Opera's production of Wagner's Ring Cycle in Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff. Upon his retirement in 1998, Mr. Ross passed the reins to David Speers, an innovative, young General Director chosen from an international search. Within Mr. Speers' first season, Arizona Opera achieved record subscription and single ticket sales, complete sell-outs of productions of Aida and La Bohme, and the introduction of the Great Singer Series, as well as a revised and expanded educational department. Arizona Opera currently produces a five opera season, with three performance dates in Tucson at the TCC Music Hall and four performances at Symphony Hall in Phoenix. Over the past five years, the artistic quality of the Opera has grown by leaps and bounds. During the 2000-2001 season, the opera appointed its first Principal Conductor, Cal Stewart Kellogg, and formed the Arizona Opera Orchestra, made up of professional, Arizona-based musicians. The Opera Chorus also relies upon young regional talent, and Arizona Opera's principal talent continues to be engaged from all over the country and often, from around the world. All productions rehearse at the Ashby Lohse Rehearsal Studio in Tucson. Most of the company's sets are rented from other companies around the country and brought in by truck. During the 2002-2003 season, Arizona Opera built its first set since the appointment of Mr. Speers Strauss' Salome, conceived by internationally renowned stage director Sonja Frisell and award-winning lighting designer Harry Frehner. Arizona Opera also maintains wardrobe and properties departments in Tucson. While both departments rent pieces from other companies, they are also called upon to construct and manage vast assortments of costumes and props for each production. Arizona Opera has maintained fully-staffed offices in Phoenix and Tucson. Its subscriber base of nearly 8,000 is divided among these two communities. Over the past five years, Arizona Opera's annual budget has grown to $5.5 million dollars, an increase of over 44%. In 2003, Mr. Speers left Arizona Opera to pursue other opportunities, and the Board of Trustees led an exhaustive search to find a new Artistic Director. Maestro Joel Revzen, an award-winning conductor and member of the Metropolitan Opera conducting staff, was appointed in August 2003. In April 2004, Maestro Revzen became Arizona Opera's General and Artistic Director.