Wednesday, December 10, 2014

News: (Ottawa) Opera Lyra announces major shifts in artistic program (Press release)

Opera Lyra announces major shifts in artistic program at AGM 

Ottawa, December 8, 2014

A transformation of Opera Lyra’s artistic programs will be the highlight of its next season, beginning in mid-2015. This important news for opera and choral music fans in Canada’s national capital was revealed at the company’s Annual General Meeting, which took place on November 24.

“The time has come for us to move beyond the old pattern of programming and scheduling an opera season”, said Opera Lyra’s General Director, John Peter (Jeep) Jeffries. “The old format of two fully-staged productions and an educational tour has served us well in years past, but we are now eager move ahead with more diversity, creative interpretations of classics, some modern repertoire and a more complete year-long schedule.”

The Annual General Meeting received financial and operational results from the past season (2013-14) and the season now underway. Highlights included the sell-out performances of Carmen in September, 2013, and the similarly strong attendance for Madama Butterfly in April, 2014. The Family and School Tour program expanded in both the number of performances and the total attendance, reaching over 6,500 young people in locations across the region.

Overall, the company had revenues of $2,084,206 from all sources (performances, fundraising, grants). Its total expenses were $2,138,873, resulting in a modest deficit of 
$54, 667.

The AGM also reviewed the Directors of Opera Lyra, and elected two new members who will serve for a term of three years. They are Barbara Clubb (formerly Ottawa’s Chief Librarian) and Tom Charlton (formerly a Senior Vice-President at Canada Post). Names of all Directors can be found on the Opera Lyra website,

“Our results clearly show the solid audience interest in Ottawa and Gatineau for high quality, professional opera,” said the company’s Chair, Victor Rabinovitch. “We have moved beyond the uncertainty of several years ago, but we have to manage carefully to ensure we don’t repeat mistakes from the past. With financial support from opera friends and public granting agencies we can handle our risks and pursue real innovations”.
Mr. Jeffries outlined some of the goals for the upcoming season. Productions will be spread more broadly throughout the year, offering opera fans a chance to see and hear a professional works from autumn through to early summer. There will be shows in smaller venues across the region, and many of them contemporary or more challenging works. Main stage operas at the NAC will remain, but these will in future be supplemented by a wider range of choices of repertoire.

“Next year will be extremely innovative”, said Mr. Jeffries. “But don’t forget what we are doing this year. This spring, Opera Lyra will present a classic opera in an innovative out-of-period setting.”

Opera Lyra’s current season will continue with a novel production of The Marriage of Figaro, conducted by Kevin Mallon, the company’s current Artistic Director, and staged by veteran director Tom Diamond.  It will be staged at the NAC on March 21, 23, 25 and 28, 2015.

Figaro will be set in an English manor house, during the Edwardian era, the same period as the hit television series, Downton Abbey.  The detailed and updated staging will emphasize social structure and personal relations within the household.  As always, the comic action and multiple subplots will be carried along by the magnificent music and warm humour of its incomparable composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Tickets for The Marriage of Figaro are available at the National Arts Centre Box Office, or through Ticketmaster on the Opera Lyra website (

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