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Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation Helps Opera Carolina

September 09, 2009

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    September 09, 2009
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    Opera Carolina News

Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation Helps Opera Carolina

Charlotte, N.C., (Sept. 9, 2009) – Opera Carolina, the leading professional opera company in the region, announced that The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation has donated $17,500 to partially replace the Opera’s annual Learning Event contract, which annually underwrites Opera Express, the Company’s in-school educational touring company, in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). This year’s CMS budget eliminated Learning Event contracts, the primary funding source for Opera Express in CMS elementary schools.

With a regional footprint that serves three states and 20 counties each year, Opera Carolina annually receives support for the entire Opera Express program from regional arts councils, school districts, the Learning Event contract with CMS, and Bank of America to underwrite performances. Before the budget cuts, the Learning Event contract underwrote Opera Express in one- half of the elementary schools in CMS each year.

The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation grant replaces one-half of the 2009-10 Learning Event contract, and Opera Carolina is actively engaged with other corporations and individuals to secure the remainder over the next few months, ensuring Opera Carolina’s commitment to arts education for CMS students continues as in the past.

“Opera Carolina has a 25-year commitment to arts education. Our Board is committed to replacing the Learning Event contract to ensure the fulfillment of this commitment, despite the economic challenges our school district is facing,” said General Director James Meena.

“Once again, The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation has stepped forward, demonstrating its community leadership and enduring commitment to arts and education. The intrinsic value and future benefits of early arts education cannot be overstated, and we are profoundly grateful for this generous, far-reaching gift. This support is in addition to Wachovia/Wells Fargo’s annual support of our other flagship education program, Music! Words! Opera!”

"The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation has a unique focus on education,” said Jay Everette, community affairs manager for Wachovia’s Greater Charlotte Corporate Social Responsibility Group. “Funding programs like Opera Express allows children in our schools to be exposed to arts and cultural curriculum that they otherwise would not have. Opera Carolina does an outstanding job with this program and it creates a positive, creative learning experience for many of our school students."

“We are keenly aware of the educational advantages associated with a rich arts curriculum at an early age,” said Georgette Dixon, senior vice president, National Partnerships, Wachovia Wells Fargo and vice chair of the Opera Carolina board of trustees. “Wachovia is pleased and honored to be able to sustain this exceptionally creative programming for our community’s children.”

This new support will allow Opera Carolina to schedule 20 to 25 performances in CMS elementary schools this fall and in the spring of 2010. Opera Express will educate and entertain these young audiences with its adaptation of the treasured children’s tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.

About Opera Express Opera Express, Opera Carolina's educational touring company, engages children and families throughout the Carolinas and Georgia with professional performances of opera for young people. These delightful productions help students understand and appreciate opera as an art form that integrates all of the fine arts and humanities. Performances are tailored to K-5 age groups with study guide activities that address North Carolina Standard Course of Study in English Language Arts and Music.

Since 1971, Opera Express has served more than one million children with such favorites as The Billy Goats Gruff, An Aesop Odyssey, Pinocchio, How Nanita Learned to Make Flan, and more. Editor’s note: For a photo of the Opera Express performance of Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, go to http://www.operacarolina.org/content/media/338.jpg.
About the 2009/2010 Opera Season
Plans are well underway for the company’s highly anticipated Bella Notte, the annual Fall Gala fundraising event, which will be held Oct. 24, 2009, on the set of La Bohème on the stage of the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The 2010 season will begin with La Bohème scheduled for Jan. 23, 24, 28 & 30, followed by Love Notes, a special concert of opera and Zarzuela (Spanish folk opera) benefiting the Hispanic Scholarship Fund on Feb. 20 at the new Knight Theater, Carmen, starring international opera diva Denyce Graves opposite the luminous Carl Tanner, slated for Mar. 13, 14, 18 & 20, and concluding with Otello, starring Carl Tanner on May 6 and 8.

About Opera Carolina
Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $3.5 million for the fiscal year 2009. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region’s diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, Music Theater, 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 the Arts & Science Council-Charlotte/Mecklenburg and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of North Carolina, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.