The Indianapolis Opera dropped a couple big pieces of news during its annual Lobsterfest fundraiser on August 8.
1) Former Indiana Repertory Theatre managing director Steven Stolen will partner with the Indianapolis Opera board on an "assessment and strategic planning effort" that will "help to gauge the level of support for opera in the Indianapolis community and to guide the company's future development," according to a news release.
and 2) There will be a 2014-15 season, including the 40th Anniversary Opera Gala on November 15, a concert and a mainstage production. That's all we can tell you for now: "Additional season details will be announced in the near future," according to the news release.
The Indianapolis Opera hasn't presented a concert or opera since canceling the final production on its 2013-14 season, Albert Herring, citing "financial strain." The company canceled the final opera in its 2009-10 season under similar circumstances.
Stolen isn't joining the organization as a full-time staff member. The IBJ reports that "he’ll work as an independent contractor for 25-30 hours per week until the target Oct. 1 completion of the assessment."
The company has been without an executive director since 2013, and its longtime artistic director James Caraher abruptly resigned in April. Caraher told Jay Harvey that he left after learning that plans were in place to hire new executive and artistic directors, with Stolen as a prime candidate.
Here's Stolen, from the news release: "I am thrilled to join the Indianapolis Opera to direct this effort over the coming months. As someone with strong personal ties to the art form, I believe there is a place for opera in Indianapolis, but also recognize that it can't be 'business as usual'. We are anxious to evolve the Opera to appeal to today's arts market."