Sarasota Opera Announces Public Phase Of $40M Campaign And Acquisition Of Opera Costume Collection

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Sarasota Opera Announces Public Phase Of $40M Campaign And Acquisition Of Opera Costume Collection

Sarasota Opera Association, Inc. kicked off the final and public phase of a $40M comprehensive campaign and celebrated the acquisition of an historic collection of opera costumes from Toronto-based Malabar Ltd. at an event on October 8, 2019 at the Sarasota Opera House hosted by Executive Director Richard Russell and Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi.

The $40M campaign - of which $35M has already been raised - is designed to position Sarasota Opera for the future through an increase in annual giving, growth of the endowment, and to provide funding for capital projects.

The "quiet" phase of the campaign began in 2014. Since then:

  • Over $3M has been raised to support capital projects, including the building of the Steinwachs Artists Residences which opened in January 2016.
  • Sarasota Opera's endowment has doubled to $9M.
  • An additional $17M has been generated in annual support.
  • Through the Ernie and Alisa Kretzmer Legacy Challenge more than $10M in legacy pledges have been made to the Sarasota Opera Endowment.

Of the remaining goal of $5M, $2M will go to costs related to the acquisition of costumes from Malabar Ltd. To house this collection, a new climate-controlled warehouse is being built that will consolidate not only the costume collection but also props, sets, and scenery.

To launch the final phase of the campaign and the costume project, longtime Sarasota Opera supporters Paul and Sharon Steinwachs, through the Steinwachs Family Foundation, have pledged a generous Challenge Grant of $500,000, contingent upon Sarasota Opera raising $500,000 in cash by December 31, 2019. To date $250,000 of that goal has been raised.

Sarasota Opera's Executive Director Richard Russell states "The acquisition of this collection will ensure the high quality of Sarasota Opera's costumes for years to come, under the guidance of our Resident Costume Designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan."

Since the late 1950s Malabar has been a leading independent provider of costumes to opera companies in North America. The collection consists of costumes for over 130 opera productions, including over 30,000 individual costumes. The collection features costumes worn by such opera legends as Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, and Marilyn Horne.

Sarasota Opera's Resident Costume Designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan has numerous exceptional designs in the collection, and his longstanding relationship with Malabar's owner Luigi Speca was instrumental in the purchase of this extraordinary legacy.

The purchase of the Malabar collection will significantly cut costume costs for Sarasota Opera productions going forward. In addition, it will generate income from rentals to performing arts companies in need of authentic, high quality costumes.

"The success of the 'Investing in the Extraordinary' Campaign has helped position Sarasota Opera for the future," according to Executive Director Richard Russell. "The endowment growth, the artist residences, which helped solve a longstanding housing problem, will have long term positive effects for the company. Now with the costume acquisition, we have contained costs for the future and created an avenue for future earned revenue, helping to create a stable funding base."

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