One small opera company makes a real difference

One small opera company makes a real difference


norman lebrecht

April 21, 2020

From Maryland Lyric Opera in Bethesda, not far from Washington DC:

As a small regional opera company, and unlike some of our colleagues with large production facilities, we can’t convert our workshop into making masks. But being a part of this community is essential to us and we want to support it in any way we can. As some of you know, at the beginning of the season we received a pledge for a very generous donation to fund our Student Initiative “Hello Opera”. The rest of our season is now postponed, so under the leadership of our Founder and Artistic Director Brad Clark, those funds were repurposed to acquire and supply medical masks to the frontline workers at the local hospitals and to those in vulnerable residences.

In just the last week, we have already distributed 300,000 3-ply surgical masks including the following organizations:

Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore
St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore
Holy Cross Hospital – Silver Spring
Holy Cross Germantown Hospital
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital
Adventist Healthcare Germantown Emergency Center
Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless in Rockville, MD
The ARC of Montgomery County
The ARC of Prince George’s County
AFSCME Maryland
INOVA Fairfax Hospital
George Washington University Hospital
BayWoods of Annapolis Retirement Community
The Kensington in Falls Church, VA
Interfaith Works Women’s Shelter in Rockville, MD
Cobbdale Assisted Living in VA
Bronx Lebanon Hospital, NYC
Nassau University Medical Center, NY
& More

We look forward to connecting with other community partners this week to distribute even more! If you know of any local hospitals or vulnerable communities in urgent need of masks, kindly let us know via either PM here or at

We are so very proud to be a part of the Washington DC metropolitan community. We are proud of the people who work and live here. We are proud of the incredible everyday heroes – the nurses and the doctors.

The Arts are a vital part of human life, of community life. They bring people together, they have healing power. While we are not on stage now, making beautiful music, we are trying to do our small part, in a different way, off-stage.



  • Does this company receive Federal funding for this work?

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    The answer appears to be no. The National Endowment for the Arts is the principal – if not only – vehicle for federal arts funding, and Maryland Lyric Opera isn’t on its list of current grantees for FY 2020…

  • drummerman says:

    Bravo to all concerned! A wonderful gesture for the community plus they’ve donated to two New York organizations.

    • fflambeau says:

      I don’t agree, Drummerman. They received funds that the donor wanted spent on youth and the opera and instead are making face masks? I’d want my grant money back. Plus, everyone knows that Trump has indicated an oversupply of masks that is
      part of his “perfect” response to covid.

  • The View from America says:

    A nice gesture, but they kind of spoil it by marshaling their PR folks to flack the news far and wide.

    Somewhere along the way, they’ve crossed a fine line between being charitable and being self-serving. Not the classiest act.