Chelsea Opera produces fully staged operas with chamber orchestra and a concert series. As articulated by Opera News in a February 2011 rave review of Tom Cipullo's new opera Glory Denied, Chelsea Opera’s production was described as being "small scale and high impact." This is the standard the company endeavors to achieve with each production.
Founded in 2004 by professional singers Lynne Hayden-Findlay and Leonarda Priore, Chelsea Opera meets the needs of aspiring artists to advance their careers in a supportive professional venue in NYC in productions that are very accessible to the public. Through nine seasons, Chelsea Opera has engaged more than 500 paid performing artists. Chelsea Opera's fully staged operas with chamber orchestra are performed at St. Peter's in Chelsea, a landmark church whose intimacy and excellent acoustics make it an ideal space for opera. Its season consists of two mainstage productions interspersed by Chelsea Opera presents, thematically based concerts of opera and vocal repertoire with piano or small ensemble.
Cited in 2006 by Opera News as "a company whose polished performances deserve greater attention", Chelsea Opera continues to win industry and critical acclaim. In two NY Times reviews, Anthony Tommasini (2007) described Chelsea Opera as "an enterprising company with committed singers and a proper orchestra", and Alan Kozinn’s review of Glory Denied (2010) brought national attention to Chelsea Opera as a leader among small opera companies. The impact is tangible as more composers approach the company with new works and companies beyond New York City are keenly aware of its activities.