An excerpt from Roanoke Times “Arts & Extras: Open Studios of Roanoke tour offers art for all taste”


By Mike Allen

Friday, April 24, 2015 12:00 am


“A challenge (grant) for opera fans
An anonymous donor wants to make sure Opera Roanoke stays on sure footing as the nonprofit keeps the arias soaring.
The donor has offered Opera Roanoke a $100,000 grant, but to receive the money, the company has to raise $100,000 in matching funds by the end of its fiscal year.
New executive director Linda Webb said the organization has already raised $25,000, and “it’s very urgent that we raise the remaining $75,000 by June 30.”
Should the opera succeed, half of the funds will be added to its $700,000 endowment and the other half will help pay for operating expenses in fiscal year 2015-16.
Before Webb was hired in January, artistic director Scott Williamson was also responsible for Opera Roanoke’s administration and marketing. Adding Webb to the staff lets Williamson concentrate on performances.
Part of the funding will help secure Webb’s salary and other staffing changes. Part of it is meant to support the opera’s apprentice program, which allows the company to recruit and train young singers while they’re still up-and-coming.
For the upcoming performance season, marking Opera Roanoke’s 40th anniversary, the nonprofit will put on Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” in the fall and Giuseppe Verdi’s classic “La Traviata” in the spring.
A similar challenge grant offered in 2009, for $250,000, allowed Opera Roanoke to resume fully staged productions in 2011 after dropping them to meet budget cuts.
“Doing two full shows a year is a challenge,” Webb said. “We’re committed to that, but it’s a challenge.”
For more information, call Webb at 982-2742.”


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