Opera Cleveland was born in 2006 out of the amalgamation of two Cleveland-based nonprofit arts organizations with similar missions. The Lyric Opera of Cleveland and Cleveland Opera both had a mission of enriching the communities of Northeast Ohio by staging operatic productions that attract youthful and seasoned performers to Cleveland. In order to broaden the appeal of opera in Cleveland, the company also has a vibrant education program that brings opera to youth from middle school to the high school level in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD).
Due to the recent economic downturn, nonprofit art organizations like Opera Cleveland have suffered greatly. Subscriptions and ticket sales have declined because people, and communities, are repurposing the limited funds they possess and unfortunately performance arts are not a high priority. All this is added onto Opera being regarded, by the younger generation, as an archaic form of musical expression. Through this, Opera Cleveland has been resilient and resourceful in making itself a relevant arts organization in Cleveland.
In May, the company completed a three performance production of “Lucia de Lammermoor” and as part of the festivities surrounding the performance some of the artists attended a Browns’ game and sang the national anthem. They also visited some schools in the CMSD and performed for the youth. After the performances, the company also held a charity wine tasting in Tremont. These are some of the ways the company makes itself an active part of the Cleveland community.
This summer I will be working with two departments of the Opera: the finance department (in an office building) and the production department (at the company’s warehouse). With the finance division I will be learning about the operating cost of staging an opera. I will also be getting acquainted with the various sources of funding the company taps into. In productions I will be learning about the artistic processes that are associated with creating an opera. These include skills like costume production, prop handling, stage building, lighting and sounds technology and conducting rehearsals. All these pieces are vital to any performance and I have the opportunity to observe, learn and actively perform various tasks. My hope would be that by the end of the summer I will have been an asset to the company and that this experience will make me a better economist and vocal performer.
Each week we will use this space to give each of our interns a chance to reflect on their internship experiences. Onyedikachi “Kachi” Udeoji is a junior at Wheaton College studying Economic and Music with a minor is statistics. Kachi was placed at the Opera Cleveland through the Frank H. and Nancy L. Porter Fund at the Cleveland Foundation.