The Friends of Israel Opera Trust was established by Sam Sylvester, a London-based lawyer, Leon Nahon, an accountant, and others as a charity devoted to supporting the work of the Israel Opera. Formerly known as the New Israeli Opera, it is the principal opera company of Israel. It was founded in 1985 after lack of government funding led to the demise of the Israel National Opera. Since 1994 the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center has been its main performance venue.

Over time, the main objectives of the Trust evolved to aid, improve, develop, promote and maintain education and appreciation of the art and science of opera in Israel. The intent was to continue the fundraising activities almost exclusively through operatic and often Jewish-themed events, keeping costs to a minimum and remitting all remaining revenues to the Israeli Opera. The Trust decided to focus on supporting the young artists at the Opera Studio of the Israeli Opera, where it was felt FIO’s efforts could have the most significant impact.

The Opera Studio developed into the Meitar Studio, and its current and former students were given opportunities to travel to the UK to perform at FIO events. This gave the young singers a chance to broaden their stage experience while allowing FIO supporters to meet, bond with, and even provide accommodation and hospitality to these increasingly talented artists. FIO has watched with immense pleasure as these singers have developed their careers, performing not only on the Israel Opera main stage but at other opera major opera venues. These include: Hila Fahima (at the Vienna StaatsOper, DeutscheOper, Glyndebourne and others), Noa Danon (lead soprano at Magdeburg Opera), Hila Baggio (Berlin Chamber, Dresden, Pesaro), Naama Goldman (Masada, Liege, Cagliari, Brecia, The Grange, Wexford), Dana Marbach (Palermo, Naples, Dresden, Luzern, Buxton), and Enas Massalha (the first Israeli Arab at an early Gala, Berlin StaatsOper, Salzburg, Venice, Tanglewood).

There are more world-class singers to come, and FIO is committed to its goal of supporting their talents and the long-term aims of the Meitar Studio.