LSM Newswire

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

COC's Annual General Meeting Results

Canadian Opera Company HITS a high note with A SURPLUS for THE SIXTH consecutive year

Toronto, Ontario Today at the Canadian Opera Company's Annual General Meeting David C. Ferguson, President of the COC, announced a surplus of $41,000 for the 2007/08 season, the company's sixth consecutive surplus.

"I am pleased to report that the Canadian Opera Company's 2007/08 season was one of remarkable artistic and financial success. We have posted a surplus for the sixth year in a row, annual private sector support has increased, box office revenues have hit a record high, and, for the second straight season, our productions have played to capacity houses, with almost 100% attendance at the

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts," said David Ferguson at today's Annual General Meeting. "From the tragic loss of Richard Bradshaw in the summer of 2007 and the appointment of Alexander Neef as our new General Director in the summer of 2008, to the announcement of the completion of the Capital Campaign to build the Four Seasons Centre, it has been a momentous year for the Canadian Opera Company."

The box office revenue for the 2007/08 subscription season hit a record level of $12,300,000.

This represents a 16% increase in revenue over the previous year for comparable activity when revenue from the Ring Cycle is excluded. The 2007/08 season saw an increase in activity to 66 performances of seven mainstage productions at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and four performances of the Ensemble Studio Production at the Imperial Oil Opera Theatre. The season opened in October 2007 with a revival of the COC's 1993 production of Mozart's comedy The Marriage of Figaro, and Verdi's bold Don Carlos. The winter run continued with two new productions, Puccini's passionate Tosca, and Janek's rarely-performed From the House of the Dead, a COC premiere. The 2007/08 season closed with Tchaikovsky's romantic Eugene Onegin, Rossini's classic comedy The Barber of Seville, and a revival of the COC's 2000 production of Debussy's sumptuous Pellas et Mlisande. Overall, the 2007/08 subscription season was performed to 99% of capacity.

During the 2007/08 season, box office revenues represented 41% of total operating revenues, with fundraising and sponsorship accounting for 33%, government funding accounting for 23%, and the remaining 3% coming from other income sources such as space and production rentals. In 2007/08, annual private sector support of the Canadian Opera Company increased from 2006/07 levels by 26%. Individual giving campaigns have been extremely successful in the past year with 27% gains over last year with patrons giving more than $6.9 million. Major Gifts and Special Projects increased by 148%, The President's Council experienced a 17% increase in monetary support and The Golden Circle increased by 40%. More than 5,400 patrons and donors supported the Friends of the COC program, an increase of 11% over last season. The company received two $100,000 lead gifts for the Year End Matching Appeal, one from an anonymous donor and one from the Appel family, making it the largest match in the company's history, helping to raise an additional $263,000. Support from Foundations increased by 85% over the previous year.

Corporate sponsorship in 2007/08 continued to be successful, nearing the $2 million mark. The company maintained significant support from Jaguar Land Rover Canada, Sun Life Financial, RBC Financial Group, BMO Financial Group, TD Bank Financial Group, CIBC World Markets and CIBC Mellon, Andrew Peller Limited, Panasonic Canada Inc., Harry Winston, National Bank Financial Group and Scotiabank Group. New corporate sponsors include: Xstrata, the Title Sponsor of the Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour; Delvinia, the Digital Marketing Sponsor; CTVglobemedia, the COC's Official Media Sponsor; and Hilton Toronto as the Opening Night Sponsor.

In March 2008, the COC announced the completion of its Capital Campaign to build the

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Thanks to a $5 million personal gift from Toronto philanthropists Isadore and Rosalie Sharp, and other leadership gifts totalling an additional $5 million, the campaign, which began in the early summer of 2002, drew to a close on budget at $186 million, and less than six years after it began.

In August 2007, the COC experienced the sudden and tragic loss of its General Director, Richard Bradshaw. An extensive search led by the COC's Search Committee and Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates led to the appointment of Alexander Neef in June 2008. He began his tenure as General Director of the Canadian Opera Company on October 1, 2008.

In October 2007, the COC's successful Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre celebrated its second year with 100 free events ranging from classical, jazz, world music, and contemporary dance. Last season's series also featured a mini-festival celebrating Canadian composer R. Murray Shafer's works with four special concerts, and a new urban series which featured a world-premiere, Hip-Hopera. The Free Concert Series attracted nearly 20,000 audience members of all backgrounds and ages who experienced the artistic excellence and cultural diversity of the city.

In October 2008, the COC opened the 2008/09 season at the Four Seasons Centre with Mozart's timeless masterpiece Don Giovanni and continued with Prokofiev's powerful drama, War and Peace. In January, the COC presents a new production of Beethoven's only opera Fidelio, and Dvok's Rusalka. The spring run opens with Verdi's grand opera Simon Boccanegra, followed by Puccini's classic La Bohme, and Britten's fairytale A Midsummer Night's Dream. The season concludes in June with the Ensemble Studio production of Mozart's Cos fan tutte.

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