Funding cut for Cork opera

 

Madam, – We write to convey our dismay and utter disbelief at the recent Arts Council funding for opera in Ireland. In this round of annual funding, Opera Ireland received €1,757,800, Wexford Opera Festival €1,389,000 and Opera Theatre Company €803,000.

Opera 2005, the Cork-based opera legacy of the City of Culture Festival 2005, received nothing, despite putting on (at a fraction of the per-performance public subsidy of the other companies) an Irish Timestheatre award-nominated production in September 2008, which your own reviewer, Michael Dervan believed was “an achievement that should give it an edge” in the current funding lottery.

The chorus of Opera 2005 has afforded us great artistic opportunities and opportunities for personal development. Through Opera 2005 we have experienced at first hand the workings of the theatre and have observed truly professional and international opera singers at work. We havecontributed to culture and left an imprint on Cork, our city. No other platform in Cork offers such opportunities.

It was, therefore, with sadness and a great deal of anger that we learned of the recent Arts Council funding decisions. While we understand the current economic climate, what is most exasperating about the decision is the unjust and illogical way the cuts were made. Put simply, the Arts Council reduced its budget by 3 per cent this year. Opera Ireland’s and the Wexford Opera Festival’s funding remains the same as last year, Opera Theatre Company’s funding is reduced by about €20,000 and Opera 2005 carri es nearly the full burden of the 3 per cent cut in being denied the €110,000 it received last year. If all companies had incurred the 3 per cent cut, all would have survived quite healthily.

This decision seems at odds with the Arts Council’s aim to “strengthen opera and other arts organisations countrywide so as to secure the basis of a vibrant and stable opera community”. The funding is certainly not countrywide and if Opera 2005 folds, Cork will have to start from scratch again, as it did after the IORC and Opera South.

The chorus of Opera 2005 will persevere in keeping this company (one of the few remaining legacies of Cork 2005) alive through master classes and scenes concerts. Cork will not give up the fight! – Yours, etc,

SARAH BURKE, BRIAN CALLINAN, GILL CASEY, EOIN COTTER, DEIRDRE CREAGH, BLATHNAID EARLEY, LEE EASTWOOD, BRIGITTE HAMMER, DAVID HICKEY, BARRY HOLLAND, CAROL KENNEDY, CAOIMH KETT, EMMA NASH, DENIS LANE, DANIELLA LEAHY, EOIN LEAHY, DAVE LINEHAN, RICHARD MANNING, CLAIRE MANSFIELD, CHRISTIAN MARTIN, JEROME MAUME, MARY MONTGOMERY, MAEVE-ANN O’BRIEN, MICHELLE O’BRIEN, GRACE O’CONNELL, DAN O’REGAN, JENNIFER O’SULLIVAN, AINE O’TUAMA, JOE SHEEHAN, KENNETH SPEIGHT,

The Chorus of Opera 2005,

Douglas, Cork.