Opera Ontario Launches Emergency Fundraising Campaign

By Trey Shaughnessy
Published September 17, 2007

Opera Ontario is launching an emergency fundraising campaign.

The Great Singers Recital Series, featuring legendary Canadian tenor Ben Heppner, will continue this Friday, September 21 at 8pm. The location has been moved to Centenary United Church, 24 Main Street West, next to Hamilton Place.

Mr. Heppner is generously donating his talents for the recital, turning his appearance into a benefit to kick off this vital campaign. The recital starts at 8pm and tickets are still $35, $55, and $75 and can be purchased by phoning (905) 526-6556.

The emergency fundraising campaign will last 60 days and Opera Ontario hopes to raise one million dollars.

The company's accumulated operating deficit is in excess of $1 million. Opera Ontario needs to raise these funds in order to provide enough cash to continue the 2007-08 season, and to guarantee its over one thousand patrons and subscribers a sustainable future for the Opera in our community.

"There have been many reports about the financial state of the Opera," said Board Co-chair Dennis Darby in a press release.

While we do not have a significant amount of debt, the Company's operating deficit has accumulated to just over $1 million, as we have tried to operate in the face of reduced municipal government and corporate support. Without an influx of cash, we cannot continue our season.

The board of directors met on Friday and agreed that this was the only course forward. "There is no delicate way to say this, but this not for profit opera company is in need of its largest community and government show of support in its over 27 year history".

"The serious situation for Opera in Hamilton and Kitchener Waterloo comes while subscriptions are still strong and the quality of the performances and artists is unparalleled", said General Director David Speers.

Speers noted further that opera is "among the most expensive [art forms] to stage".

Trey lives in Williamsville NY via Hamilton. He is a Marketing Manager for Tourism and Destination Marketing in the Buffalo-Niagara Metro.

His essays have appeared in The Energy Bulletin, Post Carbon Institute, Peak Oil Survival, and Tree Hugger.

And can't wait for the day he stops hearing "on facebook".


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By maestro*F (registered) | Posted September 17, 2007 at 17:33:16

I encourage everyone to buy a ticket to support Opera Ontario (Opera Hamilton) and to have the opportunity to hear the greatest Canadian singer and the greatest Heldentenor of his generation. You'd pay a lot more at Bayreuth.

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By trey (registered) | Posted September 18, 2007 at 09:09:53

Opera Hamilton really does put on world class performances. They make me proud to be a Hamiltonian whenever I see a production. It's a shame the City who is trying to show art is important and art is vital for a vibrant healthy city but they don't support the opera.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 18, 2007 at 14:27:19

Thanks for the heads up about this! I've subscribed to the Opera for several years but the subscription is under another name so I hadn't heard anything about this.

I must confess though, I'm sympathetic to council's decision. Simply coming to the city cap in hand whenever they're short is not a sustainable long term funding solution. I hope the city recognizes the incalculable contribution Opera Ontario to the quality of life here, as well as to Hamilton's overall reputation, and will work with them to find a more sustainable solution. Still, it's up to US, the music fans of Hamilton, to put our money where our mouth is. My father was involved with the opera several years ago, and they always prided themselves on the fact that they survived through audience support and didn't need large government grants. Sadly audiences have dwindled in recent years. That's not the city's fault.

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