Opera Lyra set to return with La Bohème

A leaner Opera Lyra is rehearsing its comeback for this season after financial troubles forced the Ottawa opera company to cancel its season last year.
After cancelling last year because of financial issues, Opera Lyra is returning in September with four shows of La Boheme. 2:33
A leaner Opera Lyra is rehearsing its comeback for this season after financial troubles forced the Ottawa opera company to cancel its season last year. 
Joyce El-Khoury and Michael Fabiano rehearse for Opera Lyra's production of La Bohème in advance of September's performances. (CBC)

The opera company is relaunching with four performances of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème at the National Arts Centre on Sept. 8, 10, 12 and 15.

Opera Lyra was scheduled to put on The Flying Dutchman in February and Tosca in March but cancelled the productions because it didn't have the money to continue.

Its problems were compounded after they cancelled the season when a bookkeeper stole thousands of dollars from the group. The bookkeeper was later sentenced to 20 months in jail for thefts from Opera Lyra, as well as the non-profit Canadian Council of Archives.

Opera Lyra's new general manager John Peter "Jeep" Jeffries said the worst is behind them. 
John Peter 'Jeep' Jeffries said much of the work to restore Opera Lyra's finances was done before he took over as GM. He said his role is to build on that foundation. (CBC)

"The company I think is through the worst of it but we're set to bring Opera Lyra back," said Jeffries.

Jeffries said La Bohème will be the only fully-produced opera the company will do on the main stage this year, though in March the company will do a concert version of La Traviatta.

"It's quite important and we hope the theatre will be very close to full," said Jeffries. "We hope it will be a sell-out and that lots of people who come really enjoy it. And we hope to make a statement with the production that we're back. We're back full-strength."