Seattle Opera Programs
Seattle Opera produces five mainstage operas each season at McCaw Hall. We are committed to innovation and providing audiences with at least one new production, co-production, or signature production each season. Seattle Opera attracts an international audience for its Ring Festival, mounted every four years. Patrons from all 50 states and 22 countries will attend our August 2013 Ring Festival, solidifying Seattle as a cultural destination and providing an economic boost to the region.
Seattle Opera’s Education and Community Engagement programs serve more than 750,000 individuals each year. Mobilizing opera as a powerful educational tool, our youth education programs inspire creative expression, extend and deepen learning in the arts and other subjects, and improve student outcomes for Pre-K through high school students. Opera Goes to School fosters learning in arts and science through our commissioned trilogy, Our Earth. Fully staged 40-minute in-school performances of Our Earth, followed by a Q&A with performers, bring live opera to students. Program impact is deepened with community performances of Our Earth. Community programs for adults and families satisfy operatic curiosity, foster lifelong learning, and facilitate meaningful exchange of ideas. Belonging(s) is another powerful community project that includes the commission of a new opera, as well as integrated engagement activities that build relationships through an exploration of history, cultural identity, and legacy. Our free Speakers Bureau talks take place in venues across Puget Sound and increase access regardless of income or ability to travel.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Recent successes include a dramatic increase in the number of individuals we served through education and community engagement programs in the past season. For example, student participation in our Opera Goes to School program increased to more than 13,150 in 2012/13 from just under 2,000 annually in past seasons. We also increased the number of Speakers Bureau talks compared to the previous year, increasing from 171 to 263 in 2012/13. With enhanced program formats, new community partners, and an increased focus on this area of our work, a much larger population enjoys and learns through our programs. Providing quality arts education is central to our mission and we are thrilled to serve more and more students and adults each year.
Challenges include maintaining high artistic quality and increasing community impact with limited resources. We are committed to providing individuals with diverse artistic experiences ranging from performances of beloved operas like La Bohème to lesser-known works like Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine, both of which were presented in the 2012/13 season and received fantastic reception by patrons and critics alike. We have also been able to increase our community impact, as noted above, even with limited resources. We successfully funded our education programs through contributed income in the 2012/13 season and with continued dedicated support from our community, we will be able to connect with patrons in more ways and more deeply than ever before.