Download our 2011-2012 Annual Report - Florentine Opera

Download our 2011-2012 Annual Report - Florentine Opera







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.



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

those here:

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.


1 2

2011-2012 sUsannah

by giacoMo pUccini


by carlisle floyd

Nancy & Terry Anderson, production sponsors

Sheldon & Marianne Lubar, production sponsors


noVeMber 4 & 6, 2011

March 16 & 18, 2012

Uihlein hall


Miller Coors, Nov 4 performance sponsor

Uihlein hall

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

Vogel hall

with the florentine

opera stUdio

Attendance Comparison (by year)

FY10-11 FY11-12

Nita Soref artist sponsor


May 18 & 20, 2012



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

expanded audience!

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

production sponsors

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.






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

The Florentine

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.


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.

Rockwell Automation

GO!) at the Wayne and Kristine

Lueders Florentine Opera Center.

Image courtesy of Mario Costantini



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



D. Ericson

Jerold I. Perlstein

Lloyd A. Gerlach

Wilbert E. Schauer

Laurence C. Hammond, Jr Michael J. Schmitz

Louise L. Hedrick

Ruth Taylor

George T. Jacobi

Marilyn M. Wermuth

Mary Ann LaBahn

Edwin P. Wiley

Marianne Lubar

William B. Winter

2011-2012 STAFF

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.

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