The Board of Directors of Opera Lyra said today in a statement, that they have decided to cease operations, effective today: « There will be an immediate shutdown of the current performance season, the 31st in the company’s history. Ther reason is that revenues are not sufficient to cover costs: « All opera companies in Canada generate revenues from four sources: ticket sales, government grants, philanthropic donations and commercial sponsorships. In Opera Lyra’s situation, revenues from each of these streams have been consistently below expectations, resulting in cash shortages and an unsustainable deficit. (…) Our core problem is that revenues have not grown to cover the costs of presenting high quality opera on the stage of the National Arts Centre. » The company faced major shortfalls in commercial sponsorships, modest shortfalls in private philanthropy, reductions in funding from the federal and provincial governments and, recently, weaker ticket sales.

Beyond all this, the Board promises to « look into options for the future of opera in Ottawa/Gatineau. The current program delivers two fully staged operas each year at the NAC, but our experience shows that this approach is too costly for an independent, professional company and ticket sales are unpredictable. Lower cost models, or wider partnerships, may be viable alternatives. »

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