Vancouver Opera reports $500,000-plus operating surplus for 2012
Vancouver Opera is crediting a box-office-breaking show and a consolidated new headquarters with helping it achieve a more-than-$500,000 operating surplus for the 2011-12 season's overall budget of $10 million.
It's quite an achievement in unsure economic times.That money, however, will have to go toward its accumulated deficit from last year--although it will take a big bite out of the deficit of $831,000 on a budget of $9.7 million for the end of its 2010-11 season.
In a press statement today, the opera pointed to the success of West Side Story, which marked a new direction for the company into musical theatre (and caused a bit of debate) but which also brought in the most single-ticket sales in its entire history.
The organization also saw strong subscribership: 86 percent of 2010-2011's season subscribers returned for 2011-2012--marking a 10-year record. They joined almost 1,700 new subscribers, which was an eight-year high.
The 2011-12 season also featured strong shows like Roméo et Juliette and The Barber of Seville, as well as the blockbuster Aida.
By comparison, the previous year, when it saw disappointing returns, it took on the momentous task of mounting a new Canadian opera, Lillian Alling, and also staged a little-known Mozart work, La Clemenza di Tito. The company also said it suffered due to a faltering economy.
At this time last year, the organization held out high hopes of cost savings to be made through a move to a consolidated administrative and production facility, called the O'Brian Centre, near Commercial Drive. Those plans also seem to have panned out.
"Changing trends made last season tricky, but quick attention to those trends and VO's agile response to those changes resulted in an extremely successful season," Bev Park, chair of the VO Board of Directors, said in a press statement. "Support from the community for the season's programming, as well as the quick administrative decisions and focused artistic direction from Jim Wright and his team contributed to a strong turnaround in 2011-2012. We are especially grateful for the hard work of our special event committee, led by David and Manjy Sidoo, who produced an incomparable and very successful ‘Overture’ event in the spring."
That Overture fundraiser featured big-name singer Jennifer Hudson and Vancouver spoken-word poet Shane Koyczan.
The recent financial challenges at the VO are not the norm for the past decade: for the last 10 years or so, the organization has been a model of financial stability among arts groups in the city. Between 2000 and 2010, it managed to post nine operating surpluses in 10 years.
Next season features several popular draws, including Gilbert & Sullivan’s satirical operetta The Pirates of Penzance (December 1 to 9), with Bard on the Beach's Christopher Gaze as the "very modern Major General. Warhorse La Boheme, a remount of its 2007 First Nations-inspired The Magic Flute, and the Canadian premiere of Tea: A Mirror of Soul round out the roster.