At Opera Saratoga's Annual Meeting, Rosemarie Rosen, President of the Board of Directors, announced results from the company's 2017 fiscal year, which closed on September 30, 2017. The company reported another year of artistic and financial success thanks to the generosity, engagement and partnership of communities throughout the lower Adirondack and the New York State Capital Region.
Opera Saratoga exceeded its annual budget for both fundraising and ticket sales in FY17, building on the strategic initiatives launched by Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson, when he joined the company three seasons ago. Record ticket sales resulted in multiple sold out performances.
A highlight of FY17 was special project funding received by Opera Saratoga to enable the company to record its critically acclaimed production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock in July under Maestro John Mauceri. This project was made possible with generous support from The Kurt Weill Foundation, Stephen E. Davis, one of Blitzstein's nephews, and Marcia Miller in memory of Thomas Damien Reilly. Mr. Edelson reported that members of the Blitzstein family attended the historic performances, which used the composer's original orchestration for the first time anywhere in the world in over 50 years.
Total revenue in FY17 was $1.437 Million, with expenses of $1.389 Million, resulting in a surplus of just under $48,000. A portion of this surplus is restricted to program activity in FY18, while a portion of the surplus was applied to the company's previously accumulated debt, thereby further strengthening Opera Saratoga's financial position. Over the past three years, Opera Saratoga has seen an increase in ticket sales revenue of 62%, and a remarkable increase of 252% in individual support. Additional increases have been seen in all revenue areas, including foundation, corporate, and government support.
Edelson attributes these accomplishments to a combination of factors, including an increased investment in artistic quality, year-round programming, community engagement, and the dedication and commitment of the company's Board of Directors and other philanthropic leaders in the community. As a result, the company has seen three consecutive years in the black under Edelson's leadership, and the company has been able to reduce its accumulated deficit significantly. Complete details will be announced when the company publishes its annual audited financial statements in the spring.