WILLIAM FLORESCU | GENERAL DIRECTOR
CELEBRATE THE TRIUMPHS OF OUR 78TH SEASON
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
The 2011-2012 Season has marked numerous milestones for the company
including two Grammy Awards, chart topping original recordings,
national and international recognition of our premiere performances,
and appearances by famed performers, directors and composers, including
American icon Carlisle Floyd. We continue on the artistic path
that professionally showcases the traditional opera art form while also
creating fresh interpretations of classic favorites and introducing audiences
to American and Baroque works rarely seen in the Midwest.
I am pleased to report that the Florentine Opera Company finished
the 2011-2012 season with a clean audit. Substantial fiscal challenges
continue and the company has addressed them with a number of
strategic moves, including reductions in expenses that offset income
losses and reducing administrative staff by 1 FTE to a total of eight
non-production staff, down from thirteen in 2009. Downsizing the
administrative offices by moving to Riverwest produces cash savings
of $70,000 in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, and ongoing major savings in
equipment, telephone and internet expenses.
Our accomplishments would not be possible without the contributions
of many. I am grateful to General Director William Florescu and
the dedicated administrative staff, all of my fellow Board members and
our devoted Florentine Opera Club for the vital role that each play in
our continued success. In addition, I am pleased to thank our generous
donors, particularly the production, performance and event sponsors
highlighted in this report. I also want to single out the generosity of
Cathy and Mario Costantini, our partners and landlords, and the hosts
of our delightful and successful Pasta & Puccini event. We are grateful,
also, for the support provided by the United Performing Arts Fund,
Wisconsin Arts Board, Milwaukee County CAMPAC, and our foundation
donors, most notably the Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Charitable
Trusts who supported both our work on the stage and our administrative
move to Riverwest.
It has been my continued privilege to serve as President these past
three years. It has been an honor to lead this board through Midwest
and world-premiere performances, two Grammy Awards, and many
wonderful productions of innovative new works, popular classics and
grand opera. In addition to these artistic triumphs, we have successfully
taken on the challenges of dealing with a tough economy by significantly
reducing expenses while increasing our community outreach.
Thank you for joining us in celebration of this highly successful season
of accomplishments. This evening, we welcome our new Board
President, Mark Cameli. I look forward to the successful leadership that
Mark will provide the Florentine Opera Company.
A MESSAGE FROM THE GENERAL DIRECTOR
What a year!
To say that 2011-12 was eventful would be an understatement!
We began it with a dazzling production of Turandot and ended it by
moving our offices to Riverwest , right next to the Wayne and Kristine
Lueders Florentine Opera Center. Along the way we were thrilled
when our recording of Elmer Gantry won two Grammy Awards, were
humbled when the Dean of American opera composers, Carlisle Floyd
attended our performances of his opera Susannah, and were reminded
again how even classic operas can be seen through a modern lens,
when John LaBouchardiere returned to direct Idomeneo. And has
been increasingly the case, these major performances are only the
tip of the iceberg, with our Studio Artists being showcased in their
own subscription concert ‘Isn’t it Romantic?’, and also performing our
children’s opera, The Three Little Pigs, all over Southeastern Wisconsin.
We continued to be at the forefront of collaboration in our community
with joint projects with Alterra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,
Milwaukee Ballet, The Marcus Center, and The Wilson Center, just to
name some of the major examples.
While the economy still presents challenges, we were encouraged by
seeing more people in our seats during 2011-12, and as always, we
have been gratified by the continuing and unwavering support of many
individuals and organizations, with special thanks going to the United
Performing Arts Fund.
The end of this past fiscal year, and the beginning of this new one has
been one of milestones and transitions, and I want to acknowledge
First, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Clay Nesler, who has
gone above and beyond by serving three years as Board President.
His counsel and continuing friendship have been gratifying and
fortifying. Mary Read, has been a constant positive presence on the
Board, a most dedicated and interested officer, particularly in the area
of education. We are heartened by the fact that both Clay and Mary
will continue to be active board members. Cindy Hosale has served
our company admirably for many years, first as Director of Development,
and then as Director of Advancement. We wish her all the best
as she moves into a new position with Aurora Healthcare Foundation.
I am pleased to recognize twenty years of service by Catherine
Kiekhofer, our Director of Finance. Her steady and professional hand
has been, and will continue to be a constant for the Florentine. Linda
Seroka has led the Florentine Opera Club over the past two years,
and I want to thank her and the Club for their continuing support.
Finally, the company lost a friend and important cornerstone of this
company with the death of AnnDre Hohenfeldt. She will be missed.
I cannot repeat enough how honored I am to lead this company. Our
wonderful Board, fantastic staff, and so many in our community, make
it a continuing pleasure to call the Florentine and Milwaukee home.
by giacoMo pUccini
by carlisle floyd
Nancy & Terry Anderson, production sponsors
Sheldon & Marianne Lubar, production sponsors
noVeMber 4 & 6, 2011
March 16 & 18, 2012
- A SEASON OF GROWTH
Miller Coors, Nov 4 performance sponsor
The Florentine Opera’s 78th Season
Rave reviews and record attendance for saw an increase in attendance for
this star-studded performance!
the company’s mainstage performances.
Launching the season
with Puccini’s Turandot, a heralded
grand opera classic, led to full
houses of expanded audiences. A
reduced total number of
performances, expanded marketing
through Groupon (Best of Groupon
2011), and online ticket sales led
the company to an 11.6% increase in
mainstage performance attendance
driven primarily by new patronage.
Lise Lindstrom’s performance supported by Sara Gores, in memory of Keith Gores.
Lise Lindstrom (Turandot) and Renzo Zulian (Calaf) in Turandot. Photo by Kathy Wittman.
Professionally recorded for 2012-2013 release
Glen and Claire Hackmann
studio artist sponsors
febrUary 10 - 12, 2012
with the florentine
Attendance Comparison (by year)
Nita Soref artist sponsor
May 18 & 20, 2012
- ExPANDED COMMUNITY Uihlein hall
Mary Ann & Charles LaBahn,
May 18 performance sponsors
One of the most siginificant triumphs
in 2011-2012 was a marked increase
in the number and overall attendace of
Florentine Opera community events.
The increase in community engagement,
Florentine Opera Studio
Artists Matthew Richardson
and Erica Schuller, photo
through over 100 events and public
performances led the company to an
Over 27,200 people
watched, listened and learned about opera
at the Florentine’s outreach events
and mainstage performances
Featuring a reception for ‘Dean
of American Opera’ Carlisle Floyd!
Above right - Wayne Tigges (Olin Blitch) in Susannah. Photo by Kathy Wittman.
by W.a. Mozart
Donald & Donna Baumgartner
Critical acclaim for John LaBouchardiere’s
contemporary blend of film and live
performance with an all-star cast!
Arturo Chacón-Cruz’s performance supported by Marie Z. Uihlein Artist Fund.
by Luke Mouradian.
3 during the 2011-12 season!
Above right - Arturo Chacón-Cruz in the title role. Photo by Kathy Wittman.
STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES - OPERATING FUND
SPOTLIGHT ON - THE GRAMMYS
Among the awardees for the 54th annual Grammy
Awards announced February 12, 2012, in Los Angeles, was
the recording of the Florentine Opera Company’s 2010
Midwest Premiere of Elmer Gantry.
- Best Classical Contemporary Composition (Aldridge and Garfein)
- Best Engineered Album, Classical
performed Elmer Gantry
at the Marcus Center
in March of 2010. The
opera was based on a
satirical novel written by
Sinclair Lewis in 1926.
Composer Robert Aldridge and Librettist Herschel Garfein thanked
General Director William Florescu and the Florentine from the awards podium.
EDUCATION - A BRIGHTER FUTURE
During the 78th season, nearly 14,000 students and individuals
benefited from Florentine Opera’s education programs. These
programs provided a vital addition to local arts education—both in
the classroom and on the stage—while introducing elementary, middle
and high school students to the fundamentals of opera and the
opportunities that exist within the field of opera.
During its fouth season, the Florentine Opera’s Studio Artist
Program provided comprehensive artist-in-residence employment
for four talented singers beginning their professional careers,
while serving the mainstage, education and outreach goals of the
company. These young professional singers performed in the company’s
touring children’s opera The Three Little Pigs in addition to
performing at community events and singing in mainstage performances.
The Florentine Opera’s highly successful 2011-2012 education
programs were underwritten by:
(Admin / Non-Production)
The Maroti Family Education Fund
The Jim & Dorothy Bamberger Education Fund
GMAR Youth Foundation
Helen Bader Foundation
Marjorie L. Christiansen Foundation
Albert J. & Flora H. Ellinger Foundation
The Herzfeld Foundation
Herbert H. Kohl Charities, Inc.
Milwaukee area school
children enjoying children’s opera
Milwaukee Florentine Opera Club performances (OPERA ON THE
Charles D. Ortgiesen Foundation
PPC Partners Inc.
GO!) at the Wayne and Kristine
Lueders Florentine Opera Center.
Image courtesy of Mario Costantini
2011-2012 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Clay G. Nesler President
Wayne R. Lueders Past President
Catherine Principe Vice President Finance, Treasurer
Catherine Costantini Secretary
Mark Cameli Vice President, Governance
J. Douglas Gray Vice President, Investments
Reynolds K. Honold Vice President, Development
Karen Plunkett Muenster Vice President, Audience Development
Ilke Panzer Vice President, Marketing
Mary B. Read Vice President, Education
Nancy Anderson, Sally Bentley, Gwen Kuber, Chris Kujawa, Richard R. Pieper,
Brad Schwartz, Linda Seroka, Nita Soref, Adam J. Wiensch, Kathleen A. Wilson
Audrey G. Baird
A. Bela Maroti
Donald W. Baumgartner
F. Preston Mottram
Judith A. Drinka
Jane S. O’Connell
Jerold I. Perlstein
Lloyd A. Gerlach
Wilbert E. Schauer
Laurence C. Hammond, Jr Michael J. Schmitz
Louise L. Hedrick
George T. Jacobi
Marilyn M. Wermuth
Mary Ann LaBahn
Edwin P. Wiley
William B. Winter
William Florescu • General Director
Cynthia Hosale Director of Advancement
Catherine Kiekhofer Director of Finance
Noele Stollmack Director of Design & Productions
Lisa Kay Hanson Director of Artistic Administration
Richard Clark Marketing Manager
Jillian Hansen Bruss Development Manager
Sarah Jones Education & Outreach Coordinator
Christen Johnson Patron Services Manager
Joseph Rescigno Principal Conductor
Scott S. Stewart Chorus Master
Lesley Stone Production Stage Manager
Yasuko Oura Principal Production Pianist & Coach
Anne Van Deusen Staff Accompanist
Dawn Rivard Wig & Make-up Designer
Mel Benson Costume Shop Manager
The Florentine Opera Company’s 78th season of performances was made possible in part by:
The Milwaukee Florentine Opera Club, Inc.
Along with the generous support of individual donors, foundations and volunteers.