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Opera Carolina Caps its 2011-2012 Season with Rave Reviews On Stage and in the Classroom

May 31, 2011

  • date
    May 31, 2011
  • article type
    Press
  • category
    Opera Carolina News

Opera Carolina Caps its 2011-2012 Season with Rave Reviews On Stage and in the Classroom

Charlotte, N.C., (May 31, 2011) - Opera Carolina wrapped up its 2010-2011 Season with strong attendance and rave reviews for its three opera productions, while also setting records for its wide-ranging Education & Outreach programs that served more than 30,000 students in 24 counties across North Carolina, South Carolina and Northern Georgia, 15,000 of whom live in Mecklenburg County.

Through such programs as Opera Express, The Opera Carolina Academy, Student Night and Opera Up Close, Opera Carolina held more than 100 performances, reaching 30,000+ students and young adults. Equally as impressive as the number of students and performances is the fact that the programs reached a culturally diverse population with a 69 percent minority representation.

General Director & Principal Conductor James Meena notes that Opera Carolina has remained steadfastly committed to providing arts education for youth, as well as affordable access to performances, despite funding cuts from the Mecklenburg County for CMS, the Arts & Science Council, and the difficult economy. "Arts education is at the heart of our mission at Opera Carolina, and we devote considerable energy and resources to ensure its sustainability," he said. "We're incredibly grateful that our donor community continues to step forward and generously underwrite our educational initiatives."

Opera Carolina's premier educational project, Opera Express, is made possible by special funding from the Duke Energy Foundation's The Power of Music. Opera Express, a state-wide educational touring company that brings opera stars and performances to elementary and middle schools, held 72 performances in 14 counties. Additional funding support is provided by American Tire Distributors, BB&T, Hearst Corporation, Husqvarna, K&L Gates, King & Spalding, Lance, Inc., Target, and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. Opera Express, Opera Carolina's state-wide educational touring program, is also supported by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council.

Opera Carolina also provided the following educational programs:

• Opera Carolina Academy is the Opera's Summer Music-Drama Workshop for Young Artists. This unique educational opportunity for young singing actors - underwritten by the Duke Energy Power of Music - features hands-on instruction, vocal coaching and performance training by professional artist/teachers, highlighted by public Master Classes with internationally recognized opera stars. By its second year, the Opera Academy enrolled some 50 students.

• Student Night is held during dress rehearsal for each main stage production with minimal ticket pricing to encourage the attendance by regional students and chaperones. This year, some 1,500 students and adults participated in Student Night. Student Night at the Opera is sponsored by Goodrich Corporation.

• Opera Up Close reached nearly 3,000 adults and students during the season with performances in various social venues featuring an educational snapshot and mini-performance of a season production. The performances were also shared on social networking sites, with the YouTube video attracting more than 215,000 views.

About Opera Carolina
Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, today Opera Carolina is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of $2.5 million for the fiscal year 2012. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region's diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

Opera Carolina is supported by individuals and corporations throughout the region. Opera Carolina is also supported, in part, with operating support from the Arts & Science Council. Additional support is provided by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.

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