FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Opera in the Heights' 2016-2017 Season Launches with the Support of Hundreds of Passionate Supporters
Houston, TX (August 19, 2016) - Opera in the Heights (Oh!) announces that the company has met its ambitious fundraising goal of $85,000. The 2016-17 season will go forward as planned!! Another $65,000 of fundraising is targeted to facilitate planning and executing the 2017-18 season.
In a Town Hall meeting held earlier this week to update benefactors and community members on the status of its funding efforts and to garner support, Executive Director Mariam Khalili made a presentation laying out the financial challenges Oh! has faced in the last year. This includes the loss of $65,000 from a major benefactor that has refocused its foundation’s giving priorities, along with decreases in grants from other foundations. Part of this is a reflection of the energy industry downturn in Houston.
Held at Lambert Hall, approximately 55 people attended the meeting, which opened with an aria from La Bohème by Amanda Kingston-Beetle, along with her impassioned speech about the importance of Oh! to the careers of young, emerging artists like herself. Kingston-Beetle explained how critical Opera in the Heights has been to advancing her career as an opera singer by giving her a stage to share her talents and passion for the art-form with appreciative audiences.
“This year, Opera in the Heights has experienced one of the greatest challenges of its 21-year existence,” says Mariam Khalili, the company’s Executive Director. “We are humbled by the support of so many. In just 1 month our community pulled together to make this upcoming season a reality. I must express my deep appreciation to our ‘Oh! angels’,” Khalili continues. “We still have a long way to go to raise an additional $65,000 to ensure the financial health of our organization but we are thrilled to officially announce the start of our 2016-2017 season! Opera in the Heights employs approximately 100 artists during the season, providing not only a paycheck, but incredible opportunities to perform in a nurturing and intimate environment, in front of opera-goers both seasoned and new. Our singers are also the leading force behind our education outreach, where they help Oh! to make a difference in the lives of students across Houston.”
Khalili then introduced Perryn Leech, Houston Grand Opera’s (HGO) Managing Director, who articulated how important Oh! is to the arts community in Houston by providing these unique and rich opportunities for young artists. “These young artists don’t start their professional careers at HGO, but at Opera in the Heights,” he says. “They work unbelievably hard just to get a chance to do their art, and we must all push their agenda.”
Leech went on to say that Houston Grand Opera is the big brother in town and wants to see Oh! not only survive, but thrive. “Opera in the Heights is a vital part of the Houston arts scene. We all want the company to continue in its mission, as it makes us all better. The arts are life-changing, and we must support them, including arts programming in schools.”
Khalili outlined several future initiatives to improve Oh!’s bottom line, including increasing the number of board members from 9 to 20 by July 2017. Highly stressed was the importance of maintaining the level of individual giving the company has received each year; those who are struck by the beauty they see on stage are encouraged to invite friends to a performance and consider giving a gift to further support the company.
The company is proud and excited to launch the season on August 31, with their annual kick-off party, Overture, hosted by Tommie Vaughn Ford. Guests will enjoy intimate performances from Oh! Stars while mingling and enjoying light bites provided by Harold’s in the Heights and local brews by Town in City Brewing Company. Tickets are available now.
If you’ve never seen an Opera in the Heights production, now is the time. The 2016-17 season kicks off in September with Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, with shows on Sept. 16, 18, 22 and 24. Tickets to Overture and season performances are available online at www.operaintheheights.org or by calling the box office at 713-861-5303. The diverse season also includes Puccini’s La Bohème, Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles or The Pearl Fishers and Mark Adamo’s Little Women, adapted from the book by Louisa May Alcott; and during the holidays, Oh!’s ConciertOh! de Invierno.