Opera Company Announces Balanced Budget for 2010-2011 Season
For Immediate Release: September 6, 2011
Contact: Tracy C. Galligher
Philadelphia, PA: Looking ahead to a new season which launches on September 30th, Opera Company of Philadelphia Board Chairman Stephen A. Madva announced the results of the official audit of Fiscal Year 2011, which ended May 31, 2011 with a balanced budget and an improved overall financial position for the $8.6 million company. This marks the third consecutive year of balanced books during extremely challenging economic times for the arts.
The 2010-2011 Season marked a banner year for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, which announced a commitment to perform an American opera in each of the next ten seasons through the American Repertoire Program, won local and national attention and over 10 million YouTube hits for its Knight Arts-funded "Random Acts of Culture", and launched the country’s first-ever collaborative Composer In Residence Program in cooperation with New York’s Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group. The season closed on a high note with national critical acclaim for the American Premiere of Phaedra, part of the fourth season of the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater. With overall season attendance for 2010-2011 at 94% of full-view seating, contributed income rose 22% in FY 2011 in a year over year comparison with FY 2010.
“While our ultimate goal is to develop an endowment, our immediate focus has been on developing reserve funds to help with simple things such as fluctuation in cash flow throughout the cycle of a season,” shared Board Chair Madva. “Additionally, we needed to have a modest amount of capital to work with for planning and new ventures, and so we have established a Risk Capital Fund to provide us with the flexibility we need to be able to make fluid decisions about new business practices. We are deeply grateful to all of our donors for the investments that they have made this year in our continued health and vitality.”
In addition to balancing the operational budget by a narrow margin – driving home the reality that every gift, large and small, makes a difference in the business of opera – the Opera Company was able to improve its overall financial position by attracting major local and national philanthropy, adding to modest financial reserves that will support future planning and business development. A landmark $1.4 million gift from New York’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation made the Composer In Residence Program a reality in early 2011. Later in the spring, the Opera Company received a $1.17 million gift from The Kresge Foundation, headquartered in Detroit, to support the company’s institutional capitalization efforts, including $1 million designated for a Risk Capital Fund to assist in the exploration of innovative organizational activity.
General Director David B. Devan said, “We feel that both individuals and foundations are responding to an ever-increasing artistic standard that we are working to showcase at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. That could not happen without the leadership and support of an extraordinarily engaged board of directors, who are the first to invest strongly in our work and stand proudly behind it. On behalf of Artistic Director Robert Driver, Music Director Corrado Rovaris, and myself, I want to publicly thank our board, and each individual supporter, at every level, that helped us get to this balanced position. Their commitment is directly tied to what our community sees on stage.”
Great things are in the works for future seasons, with recent announcements of new co-commissions and co-productions being developed for seasons through 2016. In addition to developing the Composer In Residence Program, the Opera Company will also host the 2012 OPERA America Conference in Philadelphia, which will showcase Dark Sisters, a new opera by Nico Muhly and Stephen Karam, co-commissioned with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group.
The 2011-2012 Season opens on September 30th with a grandscale production of Carmen at the Academy of Music. The production, which runs through October 14, will also be presented in the Company’s first live simulcast to a big screen on Independence Mall in an event called Opening Night Philadelphia!, which received a generous $150,000 grant through the Knight Arts Challenge. For more information about the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s upcoming season, please visit www.operaphila.org.
The Opera Company’s 2010-2011 Annual Report will be available in October 2011.
SUPPORT FOR THE OPERA COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA
The Opening Night Philadelphia! Simulcast of CARMEN is made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge. The Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater is generously underwritten by Wyncote Foundation. US Airways is the official airline of the Opera Company. YAMAHA is the official piano of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Hyatt at the Bellevue is the official hotel of the Opera Company. Burdumy Motors Incorporated is the official automotive dealership of the Opera Company. Macy’s is the sponsor of Opera Overtures pre-opera talks before each performance. The Opera Company of Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Lenfest Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative and the Philadelphia Music Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Wallace Foundation, The William Penn Foundation and Wyncote Foundation. Additional support is provided by Beneficia Foundation, Independence Foundation, Jacob Burns Foundation, and OPERA America’s Opera Fund. The Opera Company of Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. General operating support is provided, in part, by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.