Founded in 1998 by Dr. Daniel Kleinknecht, the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre presents two to three operas each season for over 7,000 audience members and community school students, as well as special events.  A Level IV Opera America member, the company typically features American artists in its productions. CR Opera's Young Artist Program, active since 2003, offers college and university-educated students of vocal performance, a paid opportunity to understudy principal roles, sing comprimario roles, and perform in the opera chorus of mainstage operas, as well as participate in school outreach productions and annual summer operettas/musicals.

The mission of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre is to advance opera as a vital, living American art form and to develop the artists who create it, as well as the audience that appreciates and supports it.


As founder of Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre over twenty years ago, he has led the company in performances of major operatic repertoire and under his leadership the company has received four consecutive National Endowment for the Arts grants, has established a nationally-recognized Young Artist Program, and has built an endowment of over $100,000. He has conducted the Long Bay Symphony, Evansville Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Illinois, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Singers, the Fort Dodge Symphony, and the Iowa City Community Orchestra, and several national tours of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. The Peoria Journal wrote,“with Kleinknecht at the podium, the sound was wonderfully hall-filling and alive with exceptional power and grace.” The Myrtle Beach Press said “what was most impressive was Kleinknecht…he controlled every aspect of the music.”

Kleinknecht has been a Conducting Fellow at the Aspen Music School and at Quebec’s Domaine Forget, and holds music degrees from Oberlin College, Indiana University, and The University of Iowa where he conducted performances of the Opera Theatre and the Center for New Music. He is listed in the International Who’s Who in Music, and has had articles published in the American Choral Review and the Choral Journal. He is also an associate professor at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids.


425 2nd St. SE, Suite 960

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401



(319) 365-7401



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