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Peter Mark Papers

Collection ID: MG 114

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal papers of Peter Mark, Founding General Director and Artistic Director of the Virginia Opera from 1974-2010. The collection includes the correspondence of Peter Mark as Artistic Director of the Virginia Opera, programs from Virginia Opera productions, administrative records of the Virginia Opera, and records pertaining to the International Opera Alliance (IOA) and the Lyric Opera of Virginia.


  • 1953-2014, undated
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1980-2010
  • Other: Date acquired: 12/20/2012



82.60 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Portions of this collection are restricted. Please consult a staff member for assistance.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Peter Mark is the Founding General Director and Artistic Director of the Virginia Opera Association from 1974 to 2010, founding Artistic Director of the Buck Hill-Skytop Music Festival and an International Opera Coach, Masterclass Teacher and Conductor.    The Virginia Opera Association bestowed on Peter Mark the title Director Emeritus of the Virginia upon his departure in 2012.  Peter Mark is the founding Director of Lyric Opera of Virginia from 2010 to 2012.  He worked through the International Opera Alliance to identify and train gifted young American and international opera singers.  Prior to his career as conductor and impresario, Maestro Mark, who began his musical career as a boy soprano soloist at the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera, enjoyed a successful career as a solo violinist and violist. Since his Virginia Opera debut in 1975 and under his guidance for the past 36 seasons, Virginia Opera has identified, worked with and presented some of the nation’s most promising young singers – from Jeannine Altmeyer, Renée Fleming, Barbara Dever, Frank Porretta, Grant Youngblood, Fabiana Bravo, Lawrence Brownlee, Nmon Ford, Thomas Truhitte, Cristina Nassif, Jeniece Golbourne, Manon Strauss Evrard and Mary Elizabeth Williams. Maestro Mark conducted his 100th Virginia Opera production - Il Trovatore, totaling 700 highly-successful performances led by him on the company’s stage during his career.  He invited two of the most well know opera singers to the Hampton Roads area, Beverly Sills and Luciano Pavarotti.  As conductor, he brought the artistic achievements of Virginia Opera to the international stage, conducting the company’s productions and presenting the company’s singers in South America, London, New York, and China, where he conducted Shanghai’s first Italian-language Tosca to open the brand new Opera House of the Oriental Arts Center, China’s first, and was featured on the cover of China’s national Opera News.  Among his most recognized productions are four operas by Maestro Mark’s wife, distinguished Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave, and the Virginia Premieres of Strauss’ Elektra and Salome, Wagner’s Die Walküre and Tristan & Isolde, Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, and Handel’s Rodelinda and Agrippina. Maestro Mark conducted the British premiere of Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (telecast throughout the United Kingdom by Granada Television); Porgy and Bess at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, La Traviata and Masked Ball for Krakow Opera, and La Bohème for its centennial production at the Torre del Lago Puccini Festival in Italy.  He has also conducted for New York City Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria in Canada, and the National Opera of Mexico at the Bellas Artes.  Though his travels to China, Africa, Europe and the Americas, he has heard listened, trained and encouraged and presented some of the best young operatic talent.  Peter Mark is the son of Edna and Irving Mark.

Note written by Mona Farrow

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged into seven series: Series I: Peter Mark; Series II: Thea Musgrave; Series III: International Opera Alliance (IOA); Series IV: Lyric Opera of Virginia; Series V: Virginia Opera Association; Series VI: Audio/Video Tapes and Cassettes; and Series VII: Oversize Memorabilia and Promotional Material.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Peter Mark

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A2013-09

Accruals and Additions

An addition to the collection was given in 2014.

Related Materials

Virginia Opera Papers (MG 85).

Processing Information

The collection was inventoried by Mona Farrow, Special Collections and University Archives staff, Greg Magier, Special Collections and University Archives volunteer, and Angelia Mumford, Special Collections and University Archives student assistant from June 2015 through December 2016. Additional material was interfiled into the collection by Mona Farrow, Special Collections and University Archives staff, from January through March 2018.

A Guide to the Peter Mark Papers
Mona Farrow
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US