Long Beach Opera Receives $300,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant
2011-11-04 · By Editor
Long Beach Opera (LBO) is thrilled to announce the award of a three year grant in the amount of $300,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Foundation provides multi-year arts grants on an invitation-only basis to a small number of leading US orchestras, theater, opera, and modern dance companies. The grant will support LBO’s new Outer Limits series, a project designed to expand the boundaries of the opera form. While LBO’s main season productions will continue to broaden the possibilities of opera through new and rare works, Outer Limits will feature musical outliers that defy classification. LBO’s Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek comments, “We are proud to be a recipient of the Mellon Foundation grant for this adventurous initiative. We also see it as an endorsement of the work we do and an encouragement to create this new artistic path for LBO.”
With support from the Mellon grant, the company will create a haven where Southern California’s most adventurous audiences can experience highly progressive productions which challenge stage conventions and explore new approaches to contemporary music. The Outer Limits’ series will be staged in intimate, alternative venues accommodating 300 people.
For the inaugural production of Outer Limits in September 2012, LBO will stage Gavin Bryar’s PAPER NAUTILUS at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Since Outer Limits will span a broad spectrum of music styles, theatrical innovation, and experimental storytelling, LBO intends to reach out to artists from “non-theater” disciplines, collaborating with video artists, painters, and installation artists to infuse productions with a fresh design aesthetic.
Separate from LBO’s main winter/spring season of four operas, the Outer Limits series will take place in the fall and include at least one production in 2012 through 2015 and two productions starting in FY 2016. The expansion of its schedule to five and six productions annually reflects the enormous growth LBO has experienced since its inception in 1979 as the first professional opera company in the Los Angeles/Orange County region.
Despite the recent economic downturn, LBO’s subscription and donor base has grown exponentially and its budget has steadily increased to over $1.2 million in the current fiscal year. Season attendance has more than doubled over the past several years with subscriptions rising by 500% from 2008 to 2011.
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently makes grants in five core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship; Scholarly Communications; Museums and Art Conservation; Performing Arts; and Conservation and the Environment. Within each of its core programs, the Foundation concentrates most of its grant making in a few areas. Institutions and programs receiving support are often leaders in fields of Foundation activity, but they may also be promising newcomers, or in a position to demonstrate new ways of overcoming obstacles to achieve program goals. The grant making philosophy is to build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities. As such, The Mellon Foundation develops thoughtful, long‐term collaborations with grant recipients and invests sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results. The Foundation seeks to support institutions that contribute to the development and preservation of their art form, provide creative leadership in solving problems or addressing issues unique to the field, and which present the highest level of institutional performance. Grants are awarded on the basis of artistic merit and leadership in the field, and concentrate on achieving long‐term results. Special consideration is also given to programs supporting generative artists—US composers, playwrights, choreographers, and artist-led theatrical ensembles.
About Long Beach Opera
Founded in 1979, Long Beach Opera (LBO) is the oldest opera company in the Los Angeles/ Orange County area and has a national and international reputation for its interpretations of unconventional repertory in inventive and often boldly avant-garde stagings. Productions take place in a variety of venues, from traditional theaters to non-theatrical spaces, with recent site-specific productions including: Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus & Euridice in and around an Olympic swimming pool; Grigori Frid’s The Diary of Anne Frank in parking garages; and Viktor Ullmann’s Emperor of Atlantis with Carl Orff’s The Clever One in the hull of the Queen Mary. The company’s 2011 season featured the American premiere of Luigi Cherubini’s original version of Medea, performed inside an empty furniture warehouse with 360-degree seating. With a repertoire of over 90 operas, the company is known for the number of its world, West Coast, and US premieres and is unique in performing most of its productions in English. The company has worked with some of America’s foremost living composers, including Philip Glass and John Adams, as well as David Lang and Ricky Ian Gordon, two of America’s most promising young composers. LBO has been led by two visionary leaders: founder Michael Milenski during LBO’s first 25 years and Austrian conductor, Andreas Mitisek, since 2003.