North Idaho Friends of the Opera and the Arts was incorporated in 2000 by a group of opera lovers bent on bringing great artists and beautiful music to the Inland Northwest. INO began as a grassroots effort called Opera Plus! producing one Mainstage event per year at the Schuler Auditorium of North Idaho College, along with a yearly Sunset Cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene. In 2009, Opera Plus! expanded its season and became Opera Coeur d’Alene.
In 2012, Aaron St. Clair Nicholson became Artistic and General Director, quickly establishing a new trajectory for Opera Coeur d’Alene and her loyal supporters by raising the artistic bar to a whole new level and expanding our season with a second, semi-staged opera in Spokane. Highlights include the sellout production of La Boheme in 2016.
Under the direction of Dawn Wolski in 2018, Opera Coeur d’Alene evolved into Inland Northwest Opera (INO). After nearly twenty years of bringing spectacular performances as Opera Coeur d’Alene, it was time to unite opera lovers from the entire region under a new and all-inclusive name. The Marriage of Figaro, fully staged at Spokane’s historic Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, created such a buzz that it was the best attended opera in our company’s history.
Inland Northwest Opera (INO) is now garnering attention on the national stage for its acclaimed casts and beautiful productions. Not only is it the only professional Opera company in the Inland Northwest, but it is also the only performing arts organization in the entire region whose mission is to serve both Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and the surrounding metro areas equally.