IMPACT Opera: In Perfect Harmony
Pensacola Opera, Inc.
The mission of the Pensacola Opera is to enrich the culture of Northwest Florida by producing professional opera performances, educational programs, and other opera-related community events for people of all ages, interests and backgrounds. Founded in 1983 by a group of community volunteers (some of whom remain active Trustees), Pensacola Opera is the only opera company in Northwest Florida and one of only five professional opera companies in Florida affiliated with OPERA America. Pensacola Opera’s mainstage productions feature acclaimed artists who regularly appear throughout our nation and the world. In 2003, the company established the Artists in Residence program to continue its commitment to the identification, training, and nurturing of promising young singers. More than 200 singers audition each year for the five coveted residencies. Annually each year through Pensacola Opera’s education programs, these artists positively impact over 40,000 children and adults in the community. Programs include Opera University, community outreach performances, gallery night performances, University of West Florida Leisure Learning Society, Opera Camp for ages 6-17, and Morning at the Opera for all 4th graders in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
Faced with mounting uncertainty amidst conflicting facts and forecasts, the Pensacola Opera had to confront its future. When can they perform? Where can they perform? For whom may they perform, and what, if anything, can they perform? The answer required a total reimagining of what is possible, because of what was previously unimaginable. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to purchase equipment which will allow the company to expand its outdoor performance schedule significantly. It will also enhance the quality of indoor performances and create professional quality live and pre-recorded streaming content. Through this grant, Pensacola Opera will purchase a transport vehicle, lighting, a complete portable, raised, and skirted stage, a sound system, and other accessories to take performances on the road, including many parks in both counties. This project provides an array of experiential options for the community, allowing them to decide how they will enjoy a Pensacola Opera performance, whether that means a publicly attended open-air event in their neighborhood, an event at the Opera Center, or an online streaming event.
The expected impact on the population is as varied as the members of Pensacola Opera’s population itself. For the existing patron who is least likely to attend a performance in a traditional venue, the impact is the enjoyment of a live performance presented in their neighborhood park, enjoyed in a low-risk, open-air environment. For the non-traditional audience who might be intrigued by an open-air performance in the UWF Museum Plaza, the impact is the positive experience of joining together as a community. The greatest impact is anticipated to be in neighborhoods within the community that exist on the precipice of financial, social, and emotional ruin. These communities stand to benefit the most from free performances provided in their neighborhood, removing all barriers which prevent the powerful experience of enjoying live music together. Opera’s education and community engagement programs will “pop up” regularly at schools, community centers, libraries, parks, restaurants, festivals, and more. Enhanced audio/visual equipment will provide the ability to create professional level streaming of live online performances, enabling the Company to expand its reach to a global audience.