Florentine to open Opera Center in Riverwest Neighborhood
Opera Center will provide rehearsal, warehouse and performance space; allow expansion of programming & community outreach for the Florentine
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin-July 9, 2009-The Florentine Opera Company announces the opening of the Wayne & Kristine Lueders Florentine Opera Center, in the heart of Milwaukee's revitalized Riverwest neighborhood. "This new location will allow us to take an important and much needed step toward deeper engagement and expanded presence within our community," notes General Director William Florescu.
Through a generous lead gift from Wayne and Kristine Lueders, the Florentine Opera Company was able to secure a lease of the building located at 926 East Burleigh Street. The building, owned by Company Board member Catherine Costantini and her husband Mario, is the ideal space to house workshops for designing and building productions, costumes, and wigs, and storage of production elements. It will be a home for the Company's ever-expanding youth education programs, and for new, more relevant programs for adults. For the first time, the Florentine Opera will rehearse in its own space, and will also be able to offer reasonably priced, first-class rehearsal space to local and emerging performers and arts groups.
"Having a place to call home provides the Florentine with customized workspaces that will enhance our creative process in countless ways," says William Florescu. "It also affords us the opportunity to collaborate with other arts groups and members of our community in a unique environment specifically tailored to the needs of performers, students and arts groups."
"Mario and I are thrilled to welcome the Florentine Opera to the Riverwest neighborhood. This is an exciting opportunity for both the Florentine and Riverwest on many fronts, and we are delighted to be a part of it. We know our neighbors will love - and, in some cases, learn to love - the joy of opera during the weeks and months ahead," notes Catherine Costantini, Florentine Opera Company Board member and owner of the new space.
Wayne Lueders, President of the Florentine Opera Company, stated: "Kris and I are very pleased to enable the Florentine Opera to take this significant step in having its own facility. In recent years, the Florentine has made great production strides forward from the magnificent Aida to Erika Sunnegardh's great performance in Salome to this year's innovative production of Handel's Semele and the all-Florentine directed, conducted, and staged The Magic Flute. The Opera Center and the possibilities it opens up to the Florentine is another important step forward."
Funding for programming and performances held at the Wayne & Kristine Lueders Opera Center is provided by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, with additional support by the Frieda & William Hunt Memorial Trust.
All other Florentine Opera Company business operations will remain at 700 N. Water Street, Suite 950, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
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