So it is with much interest that I've been following the genesis and growth of Oshawa Opera, a startup company located in one of Toronto's eastern suburbs. Under the direction of Artistic Director Kristine Dandavino, Oshawa Opera is starting small, focusing at present on concert productions but with an eye on much larger things.
In order that Opera Oshawa can meet its costs, contribute to Oshawa's cultural life and grow enough to hopefully qualify for government funding soon, Kristine has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its November production of Fidelio. The goal of the campaign is $999 (already 30% funded at time of writing!), which will go a long way towards making the Fidelio production financially viable.
I had a chance to catch up with Kristine earlier today on Facebook, and she had the following to say about the project:
Producing opera can be expensive. But it does not have to be. At Oshawa Opera, we keep the concerts under 2 hours and we aim to create a welcoming environment for all audience members to experience the vocal arts. We continue to offer free admission to children under the age of 18, in order to support tomorrow's adults. I love seeing young children putting coins in the donation box and asking questions about the production. We need money to pay our musicians.If you are able, please contribute to Oshawa Opera's Kickstarter so they can become a cornerstone of the regional opera scene that Ontario desperately needs!
In Canada, opera companies are dying. There are very few opportunities for singers to learn their craft outside of Universities or Pay-To-Sing programs. Our goal at Oshawa Opera will always be to pay the singers. If it means we never have an orchestra, so be it. The singers will always come first. Sets can wait. Paying for expensive advertising can wait. First and foremost, we want to be able to pay the singers for their dedication.