Chesapeake Chamber Opera cancels season, searches for new 'home city'
File this under Not Surprising, But Disappointing.
Chesapeake Chamber Opera, one of the modest-sized ensembles that emerged after the demise of the Baltimore Opera Company in 2009, will not be back for the 2011-12 season. If it does emerge again, it may no longer be based in Baltimore.
Founder and general director Beth Stewart says that fundraising became "nearly impossible," given the economy and "the glut of small opera companies and the re-emergence of a grand opera company in Baltimore." (Lyric Opera of Baltimore is due to make its bow in November.)
Chesapeake Chamber Opera "will be going dark this season as the company searches for a new home city where it can grow and flourish."
My limited exposure to the plucky group revealed that ...
Originally called Chesapeake Concert Opera, the ensemble introduced staging elements very quickly; the switch to "chamber" in the name was a natural. Although on a shoe-string budget (piano accompaniment was the rule), the company managed to deliver animated, involving performances that clearly delighted audiences.
It's a tough market in the best of times for new arts groups, let alone those involved with such a challenging genre as opera. Beth and her colleagues made a valiant effort and I wish them well in the future.
Here's the complete statement from the company:
The current economic climate, along with the glut of small opera companies and the re-emergence of a grand opera company in Baltimore, has made a successful fundraising campaign for Chesapeake Chamber Opera's upcoming season nearly impossible. In its current incarnation, CCO simply cannot support productions that would do the talent of the artists justice. To that end, CCO will be going dark this season as the company searches for a new home city where it can grow and flourish.
CCO is so grateful for the support Baltimore has shown during its first two seasons and is very proud to have been able to feature such talented young artists, many of whom are already enjoying upward career trajectories--artists like tenor William Davenport, soprano Chloe Olivia Moore, and baritone Terrance Brown will not soon be forgotten in Charm City.
"This has been an extremely tough decision," said General Director Beth Stewart, "but it's one that we hope will lead to a better chance of long-term survival for the company so we can continue to feature top-notch talent at bargain prices. We hope we have shared our love for the art and for the people of Baltimore and we hope to entertain you again."
CHESAPEAKE CHAMBER OPERA PHOTO OF 'HANSEL AND GRETEL'