Calgary Opera moving to Stampede grounds

Calgary Opera has struck a deal with the Calgary Stampede and will be moving to a new building on the grounds by 2018.

New opera centre to be built at Calgary Stampede

2014 Calgary Opera production of Madame Butterfly. (Trudie Lee)

Calgary Opera has struck a deal with the Calgary Stampede to move to a new 50,000 square-foot building on the grounds. 

General director Bob McPhee says the group has outgrown its current rehearsal space in the historic Arrata Opera Centre and plans to relocate by 2018. 

"It was an opportunity for the two groups to get together and try to merge some of their mandates. The Stampede is very much committed to the training of young singers," said McPhee.

As part of its plan to develop a youth campus, the Stampede will provide land to Calgary Opera to build a new facility on the grounds. The youth campus will eventually be home to the Calgary Stampede Show Band, the Young Canadians School of Performing Arts and the Calgary Arts Academy charter school.

The building will cost $23 million plus another $10 million to fund ongoing programming and operating costs. Calgary Opera is seeking funding from the city, the province and business partnerships.

McPhee said Calgary Opera will continue to use the Jubilee Auditorium for big shows, but says the new opera centre will have a 350-seat space for smaller scale performances that will also be available to outside groups.

"Many of these small groups just can't afford the cost of some of the expensive spaces in town at the larger theatres. So it's a win-win we hope for the whole arts community," McPhee said.

The new opera centre will have two large rehearsal halls, education rooms, a music library as well as space for wardrobe, audio visual and administration offices.​

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