Date of Birth:

October 8, 1925, San José, CA

Date of Death:

December 14, 2014, San José, CA


Non Profit


The American mezzo-soprano singer, Irene Dalis, started her career at the Metropolitan Opera in 1957 and continued singing for two decades before she returned to her native San José. In 1946, she earned her bachelor’s degree from San José State College (now San José State University) and later her master’s degree at Columbia’s Teachers College in Manhattan and travelled to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship to study voice. After Europe and her career at the New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she retired in 1976, and returned to San José to teach music at San José State University. There, Dalis developed the Opera Workshop program, which evolved into Opera San José in 1984. Dalis built a professional company that concentrated on hiring young singers on a multi-year contract basis, allowing them to perform principal roles in the company’s four annual productions. Because of Irene Dalis’s efforts, Opera San José is known as the only opera company in the U.S. dedicated to supporting emerging artists.

Honoree Photo Credit:


Tamiko Rast