Ballam: 2010 opera season high in return, low in expenditure

Last year at this time Utah Festival Opera founder and general director Michael Ballam feared there would not be a 2010 season. The sour economy had caused corporate and foundation contributions to dry up. Cache County helped out, Ballam says, and the audience contributed about $200,000 more than they have ever done before to save the upcoming 2010 season.On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Monday, Ballam said the UFOC has an exciting season coming up, a season he calls “high in return and low in expenditure.””We have determined that some of the shows do better than others,” Ballam said. “We have always traditionally done about the same number of operas as musicals. “This year we’re doing more performances of the musicals, fewer of the operas so that they will be full houses all of the time. That will help in the expenditure because of the artists involved. “And beyond that we’re starting something I have been interested in doing from the beginning, called an Academy.” Ballam says this started last year with him teaching a course on the history of musical theater and opera. The Academy will expand this year and one of the classes will be about choral conducting taught by Utah State University Music Department Head Craig Jessop, whose American Festival Chorus will also present two performances during the opera season.

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