FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 25, 2015
OPERADELAWARE AWARDED LARGEST FOUNDATION GRANT
IN 71 -YEAR HISTORY
Funds Will Help Support Spring Festival
Company to Return to The Grand Opera House with Rare Opera in 2016
WILMINGTON, Del. - OperaDelaware has been awarded two years of production support totaling $450,000 from The Longwood Foundation, the largest grant to the arts organization in its 71-year history.
The grant will immediately help to support OperaDelaware's next spring festival, scheduled for the weekends of May 14 and 21, 2016. The festival will feature performances of two mainstage operas at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, including the East Coast premiere of Franco Faccio's Amleto (Hamlet), and Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff. Both are adapted by librettist Arrigo Boito, from William Shakespeare's plays.
"We are grateful for the Longwood Foundation's generosity, and appreciate the confidence the organization has placed in the new strategic direction of OperaDelaware," said Brendan Cooke, OperaDelaware's General Director. "We're demonstrating that embracing change and innovation works. We faced the financial headwinds that affected us beginning in 2008, re-imagined the opera company, and emerged with a successful 2015 opera festival. Thanks to the support of the Longwood Foundation, we are now able to plan a season that puts OperaDelaware and the city of Wilmington in the international spotlight."
In addition to Falstaff and a series of more intimate concert performances at OperaDelaware's Riverfront studios starting in the fall, the company also will produce the East Coast premiere of Amleto (Hamlet) on the stage of Wilmington's Grand Opera House next May. Up until Nov. 2014, this opera had not been performed since 1871.
Amleto lay dormant for nearly 145 years until it was rediscovered by Maestro Anthony Barrese of Chicago. Barrese, working from a microfilm copy of Faccio's autographed manuscript that survived the bombings of Italy in World War II, painstakingly reconstructed a critical performing edition of Amleto. It re-emerged in concert format at the Baltimore Concert Opera, and Amleto's first staged performance took place at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque last year under Barrese's baton. Barrese will conduct the OperaDelaware performances.
Cooke predicted that next year's festival - anchored by Amleto -- will attract opera, classical music fans, and journalists from throughout the country and the world, and added that this presentation is a coup for the state and the city of Wilmington.
"Out of town guests who come to our festival next year will discover what we already know - that Delaware offers a wealth of beautiful attractions, a wonderful array of fine dining, world class lodging, and an opera house that is a jewel in the heart of Wilmington," Cooke said.
Sarah Willoughby, Executive Director of the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau agrees.
"The 2016 festival - and future festivals --will be an important benefit to our initiatives to grow, to enhance travel and tourism, and to show the world all Delaware has to offer. This is an opportunity to reach a broader geographical audience. We're eager to see the festival next year and fully support OperaDelaware's work on this innovative and exciting project."
OperaDelaware, the nation's 11th oldest professional opera company, celebrates its 71st season in 2015-2016. Our mission is to enrich the lives of people in the Mid-Atlantic region through meaningful arts education and the production of grand opera and intimate opera concerts, featuring established professional and emerging local and regional talent.