Opera Lyra's "immediate shutdown"

Opera Lyra's "immediate shutdown"

Greg Finney

One of Canada’s leading opera companies is shuttering its doors for the rest of the season, as it ceases operations.

Opera Lyra, having produced operas for the last 31 years in the Ottawa/Gatineau region is ceasing all operations henceforth for the rest of the season, citing financial difficulties. Drops in all related income streams (box office, government grants, philanthropic donations and sponsorships) have all come in this year under expectations forcing the company to close up shop for the rest of the 2015-2016 season (which just currently kicked off).

“Our core problem is that revenues have not grown to cover the costs of presenting high quality opera on the stage of the National Arts Centre. There are challenges in all revenue areas, including: major shortfalls in commercial sponsorships, modest shortfalls in private philanthropy, reductions in funding from the federal and provincial governments and, recently, weaker ticket sales.” said General Director John Peter (Jeep) Jeffries in a press release dated October 14, 2015.

The plan at this point, according to the release is to have the board looking at options to keep opera alive and well in the Ottawa/Gatineau region, however their current format of two fully-staged shows at (what I can only assume is the incredibly expensive) National Arts Centre (NAC) combined with the decline in ticket sales most companies are experiencing across the continent are making it too difficult to maintain a financially viable performance company.

With the demise (and subsequent re-incarnation) of NYCO we can only hope that the embattled opera company in our nation’s capital region can find some firm footing financially to re-launch and provide the people of Ottawa/Gatineau with the high quality operatic productions they’re known for producing.

We’re rooting for you, Opera Lyra!

Read the full press-release here.

To read Canadian tenor Michael Schade’s thoughts on the situation, click here.



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