PSO began in 2009 as the brainchild of Founding Artistic Director Evelyn Hughes. As a collegiate vocal music professor and opera director, Evelyn recognized two perennial needs for the operatic art form: that audiences outside of major urban areas needed access to engaging live performances, and that emerging operatic professionals needed opportunities to perform new roles. As she approached the end of her twenty year teaching career, Evelyn began to consider how she might contribute to the art form that had so enriched her professional life.
After a series of discussions with artistic colleagues and former students, Evelyn and her collaborators formed the first board of directors for Peach State Opera, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Justin Carr, an operatic tenor who also ran a thriving business, was elected the company’s first Executive Director. Composer and pianist Patrick Hutchison, with his many regional, national and international credentials in music, theatre and choreography, and Jeffrey David Gibb, an accomplished young baritone with experience in opera, music theatre and staging, also served critical roles in the company’s early days.
Peach State Opera is a touring company that shares the thrill of live opera with small communities in Georgia and its surrounding states by presenting exciting and portable English-language productions. PSO resides at the Clarkston campus of Georgia Perimeter College as one of the college’s “Artist Affiliate” organizations. Artistic Director Evelyn Hughes incorporates emerging professional singers into the casts, thus giving them valuable experience as well as the performing credits necessary for a burgeoning career.