Arts, Culture & Humanities
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Children (4-12 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Stories are the essential lifeblood of a community, and Opera Colorado's story is inseparable from its hometown. A group of opera lovers gathered in 1980 to discuss the need for professional-quality opera in Denver; a company emerged that set a new standard for artistic excellence in Colorado. Nathaniel Merrill, longtime stage director for the Metropolitan Opera, served as artistic director from 1981-1998. Opera Colorado performed "in the round" for ten years, this unusual staging etching an early artistic identity that prioritized intimate connection with the audience and a relentless focus on quality, values that still characterize the company today.
With the opportunity to restore the Auditorium Theatre, the 2,200-seat Ellie Caulkins Opera House became Opera Colorado's performance home in 2005. The company builds on this acoustically excellent venue's storied past by connecting modern audiences with great works of the opera repertoire. Through a new artistic vision, help from a capacity building grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and an anonymous $1,000,000 donation, Opera Colorado will deepen its commitment to producing high-quality performances and building connections with the community by adding a third mainstage production to the 2019/20 season.
Opera Colorado moved its offices and rehearsal space into a renovated World War II-era building in Englewood in December 2017, marking the first time that administrative personnel and artists have worked in the same space. The new space has strengthened the collaborative spirit and shared focus that enable Opera Colorado to be a key contributor to artistic life in the Greater Rocky Mountain Region.
Opera Colorado has experienced unprecedented growth over the past 18 months. We saw a 23% increase in ticket sales resulting in sold out performances for both our productions, La Traviata and The Marriage of Figaro, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House as well as our contemporary chamber opera, After Life & Josephine, at the Kirkland Museum for Fine and Decorative Art. We also exceeded our financial goals for ticket sales for the season.
We continue to produce opera at the highest artistic level, placing our attention first on the musical aspects of our productions, hiring the best national and international artists, and continuing to build the exceptional Opera Colorado Orchestra under the leadership of Music Director, Ari Pelto, whose contract has been renewed through the 2023/24 season. We present productions that are both visually stunning and reflect the artistic tastes of our audience, both new and long-time.
Opera Colorado experienced a successful year in fundraising as well, increasing contributions in nearly every segment, and by 12% overall. We ended the 2018/19 Season with a balanced budget and a surplus in revenue of $175,000. Thanks in large part to a two-year capacity-building grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 Seasons, Board of Directors development has been a key focus of our work over the past year. As a result, Opera Colorado welcomed eight new board members to our family, five of them women. We continue our focus on growing the Board, with a goal of adding a class of up to ten more new board members by June 30, 2020.
This season we continued to serve the broad spectrum of the community through extensive Education and Community Engagement Programs, serving over 47,000 students. We began discussions with neighboring county commissioners to brainstorm ideas for increasing our reach into additional counties. We hope over the next few years to better understand the unique needs of each surrounding county and create distinctive programs to fill those needs.
Looking ahead, thanks in large part to a $1,000,000 anonymous donation, Opera Colorado will present three fully staged productions at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House as part of our 2019/20 season, and embark upon a $3,500,000 campaign for artistic expansion. We have reached 93% of our season ticket revenue goal for the 2019/20 season, and we have over $1,070,000 in cash and pledges booked towards the 2019/20 season's fundraising goal of nearly $3,000.000.
Arts, Culture & Humanities
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Education and community engagement programs are Opera Colorado's most expansive activity and serve an audience of more than 45,000 students of all ages each year. The company invests in the future of its dynamic art form through the Artist in Residence program, a yearlong residency that supports emerging singers' development. Opera on Tour brings abridged operas to audiences across Colorado every year; the resident artists will perform Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel and Bizet's Carmen in 2020. The Artists in Residence perform highlights from the repertoire for adults through the Arias & Ensembles program. In-School Workshops integrate opera into instruction on topics such as communication, interpersonal skills, and literary interpretation; Opera Colorado teaching artists tailor workshops to the needs of the class through collaboration with the teacher. Many of Opera Colorado's most popular programs are experiences at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House related to mainstage performances. Backstage workshops guide students through interactive stations to learn what it takes to produce a grand opera, including stagecraft, singing, wigs and makeup, costuming, and fight choreography. Student matinees and dress rehearsals invite thousands of Colorado students to experience Opera Colorado's mainstage productions. Scholarships for schools serving students from economically disadvantaged families ensure that cost is not a barrier to any young person discovering a personal passion for opera.
During the 2018/19 season Opera Colorado's Education & Community Engagement Programs served over 45,000 students of all ages in communities throughout Colorado. Programs such as backstage tours, workshops with artists, and Student Dress Rehearsals at the Ellie continue to be extremely popular, selling out on a consistent basis - the 2019 Family Day performances sold out in just minutes! Philanthropic support enables Opera Colorado to offer scholarships for schools that demonstrate financial need, thus ensuring that cost is never a barrier for any young person experiencing artistic mastery.