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Opera Lyra Halts Operations

Ottawa’s Opera Lyra has had a longstanding tradition of putting on quality performances for the National Capital Region for over thirty years. Performances with the likes of Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s The Magic Flute have captivated audiences; however, in early October, the company announced its cessation of operations in the middle of the current season.

In response to this incident, the company’s director John Peter (Jeep) Jeffries issued a statement below of which you will find an excerpt:

“It is with deep regret that we 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. The Board will now review options on how it may adjust its future operations. The challenge facing the company 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.”

Finances have always been an area with which the company struggles as they rely predominantly on funds garnered through ticket sales, donations, and sponsorship. However, Opera Lyra has been falling short of its financial goals lately, and the puzzling lack of success seen from their first production of the season, The Barber of Seville, was the last straw and forced the ailing company to shut down.

Putting on an opera is not an inexpensive undertaking as it involves getting together a multitude of talents from a variety of areas of the arts, including artistic and musical direction, vocal and dramatic talents, sets, and costuming. However, Jeffries believed that the Barber production would have been met with more success.

These unfortunate circumstances have left Opera Lyra’s core staff unemployed. In addition, at least 100 artists will no longer have the opportunity to take part in the performances that were scheduled for the rest of the season, two of which were Canadian pieces.

The NAC has expressed its sympathy for this decision and has lent a supporting hand in the ways it could. People who have purchased tickets with Opera Lyra may exchange them or obtain a voucher for an NAC 2015-2016 production. Anyone who wishes to do so should visit the NAC box office or email [email protected].

The future for the company is uncertain, but Opera Lyra hopes to be able to come up with alternative performance options and running of operations.

For more details and the full statement issued by the general director of Opera Lyra, please head on over to their homepage


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An undergraduate student in her final year of study at the University of Ottawa, Melissa Poon is studying English and French as a Second Language with the hopes of working in publishing in the future. She has a passion for storytelling and finds it supremely fulfilling to bring the stories of others to life with a selection of choice words, a dash of character, and a touch of light humour. 
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