$300,000 Awarded To Seven Organizations To Implement Innovative Audience-Building Activities

CINCINNATI, OH — Cincinnati Opera is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $50,000 in the second year of OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program. This program, made possible by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, supports the efforts of North American opera companies to build informed, enthusiastic audiences for opera through innovative marketing projects. 

Cincinnati Opera is one of seven organizations in the U.S. and Canada to receive funding totaling $300,000. More than 50 applications totaling $2.1 million in requests were received by OPERA America, demonstrating how vital audience development programs are to opera organizations today.  

Grants were awarded in two categories: Revolutionary Grants for breakthrough ideas on a large scale, and Innovation Grants for projects that are smaller in scope but still carry significant impact for the organization and the opera field. 

Revolutionary Grants were awarded to Cincinnati Opera and Los Angeles Opera. Companies receiving Innovation Grants are Arizona Opera (Phoenix and Tucson, AZ), Central City Opera (Denver, CO), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Philadelphia, and Palm Beach Opera. Descriptions of each project can be found on OPERA America’s website at

Cincinnati Opera’s Revolutionary Grant was awarded for a new project called The Opera Express. For many people, going to the opera is perceived as time-consuming, expensive, and geographically inaccessible. Cincinnati Opera will offer a direct and efficient answer to these barriers: a high-quality opera experience that is brief, affordable, and goes where the audience is. The Opera Express will be a mobile opera theater housed inside a converted semi-trailer. In groups of 16 to 20, guests will enter a stylish, comfortable performance space. The door will close, the lights will dim, and the opera will begin. Performances, ranging from 10 to 15 minutes, will feature professional singers, lighting, costumes, and scenery. Launching in the spring of 2015, The Opera Express will deliver theatrical opera experiences to new audiences throughout the Cincinnati metropolitan region, with significant potential for expansion. 

OPERA America, the field’s national nonprofit service organization, leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation, and enjoyment of opera. “As cultural and entertainment options continue to grow, opera companies face increased competition for audiences,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The Building Opera Audiences grant program provides funding to experiment with innovative projects that help engage new and retain current audiences, ensuring that opera and opera companies continue to flourish.” 

Each funded project will be documented and evaluated throughout its lifespan. The results will be shared with the opera field, so that other organizations can learn from and replicate projects in their communities. 

“We are thrilled to receive a Revolutionary Grant from OPERA America,” said Patricia K. Beggs, General Director and CEO of Cincinnati Opera. “We have always believed that the greatest hurdle to creating new opera fans is simply getting them in the theater for a true opera experience. With The Opera Express, we will deliver that experience to them, wherever they are.”  

Recipients of Building Opera Audiences grants were selected by a panel of industry leaders, including Deeksha Gaur (Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), Lindsey Hansen (Director of Marketing, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra), Drew McManus (arts consultant), Thomas Michel (Director of Development, Film Society of Lincoln Center), and Robert Sweibel (Director of Marketing and Communications, Berkeley Repertory Theatre).  

The Building Opera Audiences grant program is made possible through the generosity of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. 

About Cincinnati Opera

Founded in 1920 and the second oldest opera company in the nation, Cincinnati Opera presents a thrilling season of grand opera every June and July. The company’s repertoire includes beloved classics and contemporary masterworks brought to life by some of the world’s most dynamic performers and creative artists. 

In 2013, Cincinnati Opera launched the “Opera Campus,” expanding its reach outside of its longtime home, Music Hall, and into additional venues in Over-the-Rhine: the intimate Corbett Theater at the new School for Creative and Performing Arts, and the recently-renovated Washington Park. Year-round, the company offers programs throughout Greater Cincinnati’s many neighborhoods, designed to appeal to opera lovers of all ages. 

Cincinnati Opera’s 2014 Summer Festival will take place June 12 through July 27, featuring Georges Bizet’s Carmen, Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night, Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, and Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. The season will open with Opera in the Park, a free community concert in Washington Park, on June 8. Cincinnati Opera’s 2014 Season Presenting Sponsor is PNC. The 2014 season is also made possible with support from ArtsWave, Ohio Arts Council, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, and many generous individuals, corporations, and foundations.  

About OPERA America

OPERA America ( leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.

Information, technical and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.

Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 10,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In response to the critical need for suitable audition, rehearsal and recording facilities, OPERA America opened the first ever NATIONAL OPERA CENTER ( in September 2012 in New York City. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, OPERA America is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

 OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $13 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.