José Luis Moscovich
61st Season 2016-17
Dear West Bay Opera Patron,
This year marks our 60th Season. We have been presenting three fully staged operas for six decades. Longer than anyone in the West, except for the San Francisco Opera.
This would not have been possible without the active and enduring support of the Palo Alto and Peninsula communities. We draw our strength from the community. Quite literally: our volunteers come from the community. They work alongside the pros and get trained while they contribute to keeping our overhead low and our production values high. Our supporters in the community donate because they love opera and are proud to see it produced at a high level in their own back yard and often with the direct help and participation of their own friends and famility members. But they also donate because they see the value for money. Our company's legendary volunteer culture makes it possible for us to produce at a level that would require three times the budget if we didn't have the volunteers.
West Bay Opera is lucky to have its own administration and rehearsal facility at 221 Lambert Ave in Palo Alto, the Holt Building (named after our founders: Henry and Maria Holt). That facility, built to order for WBO in 1982, on land donated to the company, also houses our props and set storage areas, our costume shop and the main rehearsal hall. The rehearsal hall was built to roughly the same dimensions as the stage of the Lucie Stern Theatre. Having our own rehearsal space saves us probably upwards of $60,000 a year in rent. That's money we can pour right back into our productions, to help us reach for a a higher level of excellence.
In celebration of the sixtieth season, we set in motion a fundraising program aimed at addressing the rehabilitation needs of the Holt Building. We have set a goal of $100,000. At the end of March we had reached $62,000. We need to continue pushing, to be able to get to our goal. We haven't been sitting on our hands, or on the money already donated. During March we managed to get the entire building re-floored. There's new carpet in the front office, singers' lounge and in the main rehearsal hall. There's new linoleum in the kitchen are of the main rehearsal hall, in the bathrooms and in the entire costume shop upstairs. We've also repainted the entire interior of the building. These were tasks that were 20 years overdue. But there are others: we want to move forward with roof rehabilitation and with the installation of air conditioning in the entire building. This will allow us to have a year-round building, and not to have to shut down in May, when the heath starts becoming a problem for working or rehearsing in the building. A climate-controlled rehearsal hall will also be much more attractive for us to rent the out to other companies when we are not in production. Needless to say, we need your financial support ABOVE AND BEYOND your generous contributions so far, in order to reach our goal. Please consider a donation to these projects. You can donate right here on the website, or send us a check at the office 221 Lambert Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306. You can also call us if you'd like us to put it on your credit card. We'll be glad to help you help us.
Are you interested in hosting an artist for one of our productions? We have an active host family program. Each year, about a dozen families participate, hosting a singer or another artist involved in each of our three productions. You can open your home to one of them too, get to know them and contribute to making it a great experience for them to be with us in Palo Alto for several weeks. If you would like more information, you can contact Diane Yeramian, our housing coordinator, at
Each season, a fraction of our cast and creative team members come from another state. Occasionally they even come from abroad. Providing mobility for our artists is second only to providing them with safe and comfortable housing for a whole month. We have struggled for years with the logistics of finding housing near the theater and also with finding rides for people to and from rehearsals that often end late at night. We need vehicles we can loan our singers so they can get around and don't have to depend on us or on the generosity of their hosts for their mobility. If you have a car that is in good shape and you were looking to dispose of it through a donation, please consider us as a potential recipient of your generosity. We are a non-profit corporation in good standing, and your donation will be deductible to the full extent allowable by law. We are not in the business of reselling cars, like so many charities that do accept these donations. We will keep your vehicle, maintain it and loan it to an artist to get around while in Palo Alto. If you are interested in exploring this further, please write to GD@wbopera.org.
We have had a fabulous season so far, with memorable performances of Verdi's Rigoletto and Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onegin. Our final offering for the season is Puccini's Madama Butterfly. If you aren't holding season tickets, I suggest you get your Butterfly tickets soon. It's one of the most popular works in the operatic repertoire, and it is already looking like it will sell out. Check out the schedule of perfomances and note that there is a fifth performance added for this production, on Wednesday May 25 at 7 p.m. That is "bring your grandchild to the opera" night. Despite the title, this is geared to bringing in young adults. After all, a great deal of our audience members are in their 80's. Their grandchildren tend to be in their twenties. That is a market segment we would love to capture. Bring them with you and they will finally understand why you've been hooked on opera for so long. You cannot go wrong with Butterfly!
Our 2016-17 Season promises to be extraordinary. We will open in October with Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, followed in February by Puccini's Il trittico, which consists of three short operas: Il tabarro (the cloak), Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi; and in May we will stage Richard Strauss' Salome. Look out for season ticket announcements: this will be a season not to be missed.
On behalf of the Board and everyone at the company, I thank you for your generous support, and look forward to seeing you at the theater this season.
José Luis Moscovich
WEST BAY OPERA thanks the following organizations for their ongoing support:
The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation
The Janet V. Lee Trust
world-class opera at affordable prices
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Photo: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang