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THE SCOOP | Toronto's Indie Opera Companies Receive Major Grant From Opera America

By Michael Vincent on May 7, 2015

Indieopera

Tapestry Opera has announced it has been awarded a $35,000 US grant from Opera America’s Building Opera Audiences fund, made possible by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

According to Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO of Opera America, the grant program is awarded to companies with innovative projects looking to engage new audiences for opera.

Tapestry Opera Artistic Director Michael Mori thanked Opera America on behalf of Indie Opera T.O and Tapestry Opera “for providing a collective resource that will allow us to communicate a fresh and revitalized image for opera in the 21st century.”

Tapestry Opera will use the funds to support a new digital campaign for Indie Opera T.O., a network formed as a way to provide support between Toronto’s many independent opera companies. Their model was originally inspired by a program successfully pioneered by the New York Opera Alliance. Members include Tapestry Opera, Against the Grain Theatre, Opera 5, The Bicycle Opera Project, Essential Opera, Metro Youth Opera, Liederwölf, FAWN, Urbanvessel, Loose Tea Music Theatre, The Friends of Gravity and Opera After Hours.

When asked more about Indie Opera T.O., Mori said, “The approach we are taking here is to in effect crowd source opera audiences using twelve networks instead of one, coordinated with at least one shared message.”

The idea was to “tie them all together, access greater possibility of going viral on social media, and create the impression that there is a vibrant young scene in Toronto.”

Mori attested to a need for awareness of Toronto’s indie opera scene, which is in dire need of rebranding. “That rebrand,” Mori said, “has to be backed up with a real contrast to the negative stereotypes. And with twelve companies driven by diverse young leaders, they can present shows in ways they know (and hope) their contemporaries will love.”

The funds will go to a 12-month campaign and build of website, analytical tools and possibly hiring an indie digital PR firm. Needs also include messaging strategy, bringing fledgling composite up-to-date on best practices, social media coordinated strategy, and a video campaign with resources allotted to each company.

In regards to finding and building an audience for indie opera in Toronto, Mori said, “The average person is just a consumer of things they find attractive and stimulating, and Indie Opera T.O. and Tapestry are aiming to show how opera in the 21C can be that and not worry about appealing to niche tastes.”

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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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