José Luis Moscovich
62nd Season 2017-18
Dear West Bay Opera Patron,
This year marks our 62nd Season. We have been presenting three fully staged operas for over 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 the value for money is high. Our company's legendary volunteer culture makes it possible for us to produce at a level that would require twice 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 collection, 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.
Two years ago, in celebration of the sixtieth season, we set in motion a fundraising program aimed at addressing the rehabilitation needs of the Holt Building. With the proceeds of fundraising, we put a new roof on the building and we got the entire building painted and re-floored. We also got the costume shop upstairs completely remodeled, and installed several industrial sewing machines, which had been donated to us when the Mills College costume shop closed. We now have a fantastic costume shop, with expanded storage capacity for our valuable collection.
But the renovation agenda is not quite complete yet. We are working on an electronic inventory system for our costume and props collection (estimated cost: $20,000), which will enable us to implement an e-commerce platform that should increase our revenue significantly, and we are looking to install air conditioning in the entire building (estimated cost $40,000). A climate-controlled rehearsal hall will be much more attractive to rent 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 these goals. 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 at 650-424-9999 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 some 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 some charities that seek these donations. We will keep your vehicle, maintain it and loan it to an artist to get around while in Palo Alto. Alternatively, if you are willing to loan a vehicle to an artist, we can arrange for that as well. 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 Bellini's Norma. Our next offering is Beethoven's magnificent opera Fidelio. We will follow that in May with Carmen. If you aren't holding season tickets, I suggest you get your Carmen tickets soon. It's one of the most popular works in the operatic repertoire, and it's already looking like it will sell out.
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.
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
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Photo: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang