Modell Lyric announces $1 million pledge from Berman Foundation to support opera
"It is one of the largest gifts in the Modell Lyric's history," said Sandy Richmond, president and executive director of the center. "We're thrilled to receive it.
"This is a four-year commitment that started last season. We are announcing it now in conjunction with Lyric Opera Baltimore's grand production of 'La Boheme,'" Richmond said.
Performances are Nov. 2 and 4.The season continues with a gala concert in April and a production of "Rigoletto" in May.
The Berman gift, which will help underwrite a grand opera production each season, as well as support opera education programs and capital improvements, has been acknowledged inside the Modell Lyric with the naming of the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Grand Foyer.
The Bermans were subscribers for several years to the old Baltimore Opera Company, which folded in 2009.
"When that happened, we wanted to do whatever we could to help opera come back to Baltimore," said Sandra Berman, who is a member of the Lyric Opera Foundation board of trustees.
"We support a lot of other things, too, but we think that opera is extremely important in Baltimore. People shouldn't have to go to Washington or New York for opera. They should have top quality opera right here," Berman said.
When Lyric Opera Baltimore emerged as part of the Modell Lyric, the Bermans attended the company's 2011-2012 inaugural season of "La Traviata," The Marriage of Figaro" and "Faust."
"We thought the productions were ...
"This is something Malcolm and I want to help and to keep going as long as we can," Berman said. "When I talk to people in the community, they're very excited about having opera here. People love the opera, they really do. And it is important to expose the young people to it."
In addition to supporting staged opera and more capital improvements to the recently renovated Modell Lyric, the Berman gift will be used to enhance outreach programs in schools, a summer opera camp and more.
"We hope the Berman's gift will attract other opera lovers and donors to the Modell Lyric," Richmond said.
FILE PHOTO OF 'FAUST' PRODUCTION PRESENTED IN 2012 BY LYRIC OPERA BALTIMORE