The Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT) today reported an operating surplus of $665,000 for fiscal year 2017, its third consecutive surplus after ticket sales, ticket fees, theater rentals, concessions, parking, and public support all saw gains. Specifically, a nearly 10 percent gain in subscription ticket sales was reported in contrast to national trends.
“The positive outcome we experienced in 2017 is the result of herculean effort by all our stakeholders, staff, partners, and our board and trustees,” says Wayne S. Brown, MOT’s president and CEO. “Our goal is to continue to build on the solid foundation of David DiChiera’s vision and dedication to maintaining a vibrant, growing, and financially stable company and to provide consistently outstanding artistic programs for our audiences. I believe we are doing that.”
Brown also credited fiscal prudence, expanded outreach, and new corporate and community partners with MOT’s financial success. The 2017 season was also largely dedicated to DiChiera, the company’s founder and artistic director, beginning with a legacy ball in his honor that generated more than $500,000 in revenue and concluding with The DiChiera Grand Salute, which raised more than $2 million.
During the Salute, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and former Mayor Dennis Archer announced a new name designation for the Detroit Opera House, the David DiChiera Center for the Performing Arts.
DiChiera transitioned to artistic director emeritus this year and the company named internationally recognized conductor Stephen Lord as principal conductor for MOT. After more than 25 years as music director of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Lord returned to MOT in Nov. 2016.
While opera dominated MOT’s stage in the 2016-2017 season with performances of Carmen, Silent Night, and Girl of the Golden West, dance also continued to grow in popularity with performances by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Eisenhower Dance, and BalletMet Columbus.
MOT also continued to support Opera of Our Time, the MOT Studios resident program for young artists, and a relationship with Detroit Public Schools. The company also increased its rental business for graduations, weddings, and corporate events this year, and strengthened relationships with the Nederlander Organization, the University Musical Society, and Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.