Florida Grand Opera Ain't Over 'Till The Community Speaks

Nov 10, 2014

A 2010 Grand Florida Opera performance of “The Barber of Seville”.
Credit livedesignonline

The Florida Grand Opera is trying to stay afloat after years of decline. It hosted a series of town hall meetings this past weekend to reach out to the community for help.   

Since 2006, the opera has spent $19.4 million more than it has taken in. 

Susan Danis, general director of FGO, has been working for two years to implement a new strategy for the company.

"It was time to really take everything and lay it out on the table, look at the artistic problems, look at the financial problems. It’s been totally consuming, and we’ve still been producing opera," said Danis.

The budget was slashed for the 2014-2015 season and the staff of 40 was reduced to 18. Now the organization is reaching out to the community to showcase its new plan. To do this FGO has been hosting the town hall meetings around South Florida.

Lifelong opera lover Judie Berger attended one of the meetings in Coral Gables. Her favorite FGO initiative is to introduce opera to schools.

"We need to bring opera to the children. Because if we’re going to create an audience that’s gonna live after us, we have to expose these children to opera. And the fact that we bring this opera and we let these children come to dress rehearsals, opens their eyes.," said Berger. 

Florida Grand Opera plans to host another series of town hall events soon. The company also hopes to implement what was a successful activity in San Francisco, Opera at the Ballpark. It would be a live streaming of one of their operas on the screen at Marlins Park for free.