Opera files for bankruptcy

Opera files for bankruptcy


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2015

Canada’s Opera Lyra, which summarily ceased operations five weeks ago, last night filed for bankruptcy.

It is the first arts casualty under a new government that is pledged to double its arts investment.

Here’s the bit of the bankruptcy statement the new culture minister, Mme Joly, needs to absorb:


Ottawa, November 16, 2015

After Opera Lyra ceased operations on October 14, the company’s volunteer Board of Directors worked diligently to attract alternative sources of revenues, with the goal of resuming activities and programs. Unfortunately, no new major revenues have been found. Therefore, with profound regret, the company has filed for bankruptcy. The trustee is Ginsberg, Gingras and Associates.

As explained in our cessation announcement, Opera Lyra has been badly affected by shortfalls in four revenue streams. These are: reductions in federal and provincial arts grants; weak corporate sponsorship; no growth in personal philanthropy; and, most important, disappointing ticket sales for recent performances. Inadequate revenues have accumulated to the point where there is no money left to operate the company.

During the past 31 years, Opera Lyra has been a star in the cultural life of Ottawa and Gatineau. It has produced high quality, professional operatic productions that filled a gap created when the National Arts Centre ceased its own opera program.




  • Emil says:

    The election was on October 19th. How can you blame the minister for something that happened before she was even elected, let alone appointed?

    “These are: reductions in federal and provincial arts grants; weak corporate sponsorship; no growth in personal philanthropy; and, most important, disappointing ticket sales for recent performances.” So federal grants is ONE of five missing revenue streams? So how is this the fault of the federal government alone?

    Not to mention that filing for bankruptcy is a normal step for any institution in financial difficulties, that does not mean dissolution.

  • Geoff says:

    Right, Opera Lyra’s plight started well before the new government took over. Seeing that the new minister has only been in the job for 2 weeks is seems that OL is now finished and has little chance of reserection. As it says lack of financial support from the corporate sector caused the death.

    • V.Lind says:

      A lack of attendance from the paying public may not have been the financial tipping point (thought they seemed to be saying it was when the rest of the season was cancelled). But the lack of paying public puts donors off. They begin to ask what they are contributing FOR?

      • Eddie Mars says:

        I’ve been professionally involved in recruiting sponsors and maintaining relationships with them – for a ‘Top Ten’ mainstream performing arts company.

        Every corporate sponsor will tell you the same story.. they are unwilling to pour cash into gaping holes left by what the state ought to be doing. There is no cachet in funding the cleaning or the plumbing. Sponsors want the visibility that results from funding a production, or an identifiable project. When politicians pull the plug, they know very well that private and corporate philanthropy will exit too?

    • Eddie Mars says:

      No, it says “reductions in federal and provincial arts grants”

      Before using the word “resurrection’ you’d be best advised learning its correct spelling.

      • Geoff says:

        No university education, I can ‘t read music, I do not play a musical instrument, I can’t even sing let alone spell. The only important part I play in this world is that I am a listener. What is a composer or a performer doing if there is no audience?