Opera Lyra owed National Arts Centre almost $1M says bankruptcy trustee

The curtain fell for the final time on Ottawa's Opera Lyra last fall after disappointing tickets sales for its production of The Barber of Seville. Now the National Arts Centre has confirmed it's written off almost $1 million in accumulated debt owed by the opera company.

Ottawa opera company declared bankruptcy last October

Joshua Hopkins performs the part of Figaro in Opera Lyra's final production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. The Ottawa opera company announced it would be shutting down immediately midway through its 31st season. (Ottawa-Gatineau Opera Lyra)

The National Arts Centre and the trustee overseeing Opera Lyra's bankruptcy have confirmed the failed company left behind a debt of $944,547 to the NAC.

By the time Opera Lyra shut its doors midway through its 31st season, the company had suffered a number of financial setbacks. But the final straw was its critically-praised but financially-unsuccessful production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville, staged at the National Arts Centre's Southam Hall last fall.

Ticket sales were far less than expected, and the company's board of directors decided mounting debt made it impossible for the show to go on.

Bankruptcy trustee Chantal Gingras is responsible for overseeing the liquidation of assets and distribution of payment to creditors. Gingras said Opera Lyra left a total debt of more than $1.1 million, with the lion's share owed to the NAC.

The remaining debt is spread between a number of businesses.

Chantal Gingras is the trustee appointed to process the Opera Lyra bankruptcy. (Ginsberg Gingras)

Gingras said there was "very little" in the way of assets besides some props and theatrical equipment and an HST refund estimated at $60,000.

The NAC has confirmed that it has written off the $944,547.14 debt and is offering exchanges to holders of Opera Lyra tickets. Those wishing to exchange their tickets for another available performance can contact the NAC's box office.