Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Virginia Opera's $500k challenge

An anonymous donor will match up to $500,000 in new or increased donations to Virginia Opera.

The challenge grant, the largest operating gift in the company's history, is intended to "stimulate and leverage new and increased gifts . . . [attract] new audiences through innovation, and [become] stronger partners with the communities we serve," Gus Stuhlreyer, general director and CEO of Virginia Opera, said in a statement.

Virginia Opera changed artistic leadership late last year, with the dismissal of long-time Artistic Director Peter Mark and the hiring of Robin Thompson, a veteran of the New York City Opera and other companies, as artistic advisor. Stuhlreyer and other Virginia Opera officials say that the balance of this season and the 2011-12 season will be spent examining artistic and organizational directions the company may take in the future.

Mark is organizing a new company, Lyric Opera of Virginia, with plans for a four-production season to open in the fall.