PORTopera Newsletter

January 8, 2010

PORTopera Issues Challenge
to Supporters: Raise $100,000
and Match Major Donor

$100,000 Challenge

PORTopera has been presented with an incredible fundraising opportunity: a long-time donor has pledged $100,000, but with one condition; this money will be a match to an additional $100,000 that the company must raise through new donations. If PORTopera is able to complete the challenge, the gifts will total $200,000—a sum that will help secure the future of the opera company for years to come.

PORTopera made the fiscally conservative decision to celebrate its 15th Anniversary last summer with a concert instead of presenting a fully staged production. The decision was made out of concern for the challenging economic climate and provided a sound alternative to the much pricier option of casting, rehearsing and staging a full-scale opera. The savings realized from this event have allowed the company to finish its fiscal year in the black; other similarly sized opera groups across the country have not been able to stay afloat during the recession.

Achieving the recently presented $100,000 goal for new donations and receiving the corresponding matching gift will enable PORTopera to return to the stage at Merrill Auditorium next summer with a full-length production. In anticipation of meeting the challenge, PORTopera is planning a provocative version of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel for 2010.

Gifts that qualify for the matching program include donations from patrons who have not contributed since before 2007, from those who increase their gifts from previous years and completely new donors, including corporations and foundations. All of these gifts will be matched, up to $100,000, by PORTopera’s major donor.

“This $200,000 opportunity is exactly what we needed in order to truly plan for our future,” said board president Don Head. “We were very nervous about our future leading up to last summer’s concert, but after meeting this challenge, we will be in a strong position for the next 15 years.”

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PORTopera Receives $10,000 Grant from National Endowment for the Arts for Hansel and Gretel

National Endowment for the Arts Logo

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded PORTopera a $10,000 Access to Artistic Excellence grant to support its production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel July 29 and 31 at Merrill Auditorium.

Israel Gursky will conduct PORTopera’s mainstage production of Hansel and Gretel directed by long-time Artistic Director and Stage Director Dona D. Vaughn. The production will include a 16-member multinational children’s chorus drawn from Portland’s immigrant community who will rehearse and perform with the professional singers and orchestra.

The NEA awards Access to Artistic Excellence grants to support artistic excellence, preserve cultural heritage, and provide access to the arts for all Americans. It is particularly interested in projects that extend the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. NEA made 13 of these grants to organizations in Maine for the 2010 year totaling $260,000.

Hansel and Gretel Opera

Performance dates for PORTopera’s performance of Hansel and Gretel are Thursday, July 29 at 7:30 P.M. and Saturday, July 31 at 2:00 P.M. (matinee). A limited number of seats will be offered to young people 12 and under at 25% off regular prices. To order call PortTix at 207-842-0800.

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