Become a Housing Host

Why should I become a housing host?

St. Petersburg Opera relies on the generosity of our whole community – donors, volunteers, patrons, and importantly, housing hosts. DID YOU KNOW that many opera companies budget almost as much per season to HOUSE their artists as they budget for performances? We are a young, but growing company, and in order continue to bring world-class performers right here to St. Pete, we need your help & hospitality!

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind backstage experience – Host an SPO artist in your home.
Our artists love getting to know the community. Many of our housing hosts have stayed in regular touch with their artists, welcoming them back for subsequent SPO productions, or even traveling to see them perform elsewhere in the world.

Read below and contact Susie Hellman Spatafora 727-823-2040, ext. 2 or email shellman@stpeteopera.org to find out more!

DATES: How long will an artist be staying in my home?

Artists stay for varying lengths of time. 
Resident Artists (There will be at least 1 such artist this season, arriving September and staying through much of the season)
Principal Singers (arrive approx. 3.5 weeks prior to performance dates)
Emerging Artists/Directors (arrive approx. 4 weeks prior to performance dates)
Costume Designers (arrive approx. 2-3 weeks prior to performance dates)
Wig & Make-up Personnel (arrive approx. 1-2 weeks prior to performance dates)

HOUSING REQUIREMENTS: What do I need to provide for my artist as a housing host?

  • A private bedroom for each artist housed
  • Access to a bathroom that is not the host’s primary bath (preferably private)
  • Use of laundry and kitchen facilities, as well as some closet and/or drawer space
  • WiFi or internet accessibility
  • A non-smoking home
  • Pets okay, as long as we know ahead of time in order to rule out any guest allergies (some of our artists are away from their own animals for a long time, and welcome a home stay with your cat, dog, or hedgehog!)

ARTISTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR purchasing and preparing their own meals, transportation to and from rehearsals, cleaning up after themselves, and generally being good house guests!

DONOR HOST PERKS: What do I get in return for my generous hospitality?

  • Name recognition in the SPO opera program
  • Invitation to our Donor Quarterly Events, held at Opera Central, for one year
  • Two Complimentary Tickets to the opera performance of your choice (for each guest housed during a production)
  • Getting a true backstage opera experience while giving back to our fantastic artistic community!

TESTIMONIALS: What are our housing hosts saying about their experiences?

My two experiences as a host for SPO were delightful. I live alone, and I’m a private person, but I enjoyed my houseguests very much. Since they are very busy while here, with long rehearsals that stretch into the late evening (not to mention after-hours socializing) I saw them about once a day. I think we ate a meal together maybe once or twice, but usually they just took care of themselves. To me it was like having my busy twenty-something daughter in the house, and on her best behaviour!

I met their friends, got to know their families and learned about the inner workings of the opera world. Looking forward to whoever you have for me for the next show! 

Polly’s 10 Reasons to host an artist:
1. You get to hear them warm up their voices and/or practice.
2. They are probably younger than you, and can provide hints for using social media and help with minor tech issues.
3. You won’t see them that often, especially if you’re a morning person! They are VERY busy while here.
4. You get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a professional musician/singer/performer/artist.
5. You’ll get to know interesting new people. It’s fun to know the real person AND their character on stage.
6. Comp tickets to a show!!
7. Feel-good sense of accomplishment and generosity, at almost zero cost in money or effort.
8. Bragging rights to your friends, and your name in the programs!
9. Supports the arts in St Petersburg
10. Supports SPO!!!
-Artist Host Polly Perkins. Polly first housed during our Season 11 production of The Tales of Hoffmann, and has hosted twice since! 

Tales from Happy Housing Hosts

“My husband, John, and I have been accommodating guests who are here for SPO productions since 2010. We have enjoyed visits from 25 artists so far and are looking forward to many more.
We are fortunate to have space enough to provide these young people with their own areas so privacy and busy schedules are not a problem. They have added greatly to the enjoyment of each production as their experiences add immeasurably to our own.
When a guest is with us, youth and music energize our daily routines. We are happy to share meals and conversation with people from all over. We have had guests from Canada, Trinidad/Tobago, both coasts and the heartland of the USA.
These young men and women have been gracious and grateful. Several have been with us more than once and would be welcome again. If you can do it, open your hearts and homes to these lovely, talented people and share this Florida paradise we love so much.”
– Artist Host Maureen Zilles. Maureen and John have been hosting SPO artists, as well as volunteering regularly throughout the company’s history.