MILWAUKEE, Wis.—The Florentine Opera Company is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $30,000 in the first year of OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. This new grant program seeks to support the efforts of North American opera companies to build informed, enthusiastic audiences for opera through innovative marketing projects. The Florentine Opera Company is one of 13 organizations in the U.S. and Canada to receive funding totaling $300,000. A record-setting 67 applications totaling nearly $2 million in requests were received by OPERA America, demonstrating how vital audience development programs are to opera organizations today.
Florentine Opera Company will launch a new Young Professionals Group, the Bohème Society, to identify, engage, foster and involve the next generation of opera aficionados in the life of the opera company. Using information gained through focus group sessions with young community leaders, and in consultation with the Bohème Society Advisory Board, Florentine Opera will create a series of value-added experiences and events for young audiences, such as scene showcases, film screenings combined with performances, backstage tours and receptions. The Florentine Opera will also design a mobile app providing information about the opera company, its productions and artists; social media content; Bohème Society event news and audio pieces. To maximize visibility for this project, Florentine Opera will work with a range of strategic media partners to run a media campaign that will include digital marketing, radio spots, print, guerrilla marketing and more.
As the national nonprofit service organization, OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. “As entertainment options continue to grow, opera companies face increased competition for audiences,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The Building Opera Audiences grant program provides funding to experiment with innovative projects that help engage new and retain current audiences, ensuring that opera and opera companies continue to flourish.”
Each funded project will be documented and evaluated throughout its lifespan. The results will be shared with the opera field, so that other organizations can learn from and replicate projects in their communities.
The complete list of organizations receiving Building Opera Audiences grants is: American Opera Projects (Brooklyn, NY), Arizona Opera (Phoenix, AZ), Florentine Opera Company (Milwaukee, WI), Los Angeles Opera, Madison Opera, Opera on the James (Lynchburg, VA), Opera Memphis, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera, Seattle Opera, Syracuse Opera and Vancouver Opera.
Recipients of Building Opera Audiences grants were selected by a panel of industry leaders, including Jim Atkinson of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, Colleen Flanigan of Roosevelt University Auditorium Theatre, Claire Hopkinson of the Toronto Arts Council, Laura Johnson of New York City Ballet and Jenifer Thomas formerly of The Pricing Institute.
The Building Opera Audiences grant program is made possible through the generosity of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
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ABOUT OPERA AMERICA
OPERA America (operaamerica.org) leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.
• Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
• Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
• Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.
Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center (operaamerica.org/operacenter), which opened in September 2012. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the National Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.
OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of over $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.
ABOUT THE FLORENTINE OPERA COMPANY
The Florentine Opera Company’s productions reflect the highest musical and theatrical standards, while supporting community and educational programs. As a leader in Wisconsin's art community and the nation’s sixth-oldest opera company, the Florentine Opera seeks to establish a significant presence in the cultural, educational and civic life of the state of Wisconsin and beyond. Audiences enjoy beautiful main stage productions that include first-rate vocal artistry brought to life by established and emerging international, national and local opera stars. With a foundation of fiscal responsibility, the company continues to grow its artistic and educational programs. Through its outreach and in-school educational programming, the Florentine provides vital arts education experiences for children, nurtures new audiences, and expands cultural horizons for the next generation. The Florentine Opera is a cornerstone member organization of the United Performing Arts Fund and receives funds from Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin, as well as support from corporations, foundations and individuals. The Florentine Opera Company is a member of Opera America.