This research paper recounts the work done in founding an opera company and putting on its inaugural show. It also provides some of the insights acquired during the process, which may be helpful for other future opera producers in creating a framework and guideposts for starting their own companies. The paper consists of two main sections followed by several short appendices.
The first section methodically reconstructs the process by which Windy City Opera's La Bohème was brought to the stage. It covers the background experiences that prompted the author to found her own company, the research and decisions involved, and the interplay between the company's overall goals and the resources available for a first production. The business, casting, rehearsing, and marketing aspects are reviewed in detail, as well as several mistakes that were made during the process that afforded valuable learning opportunities.
The second section follows up on these and other opportunities by sketching an ideal plan that opera startups might follow; the principal topics are timeline, budgeting, fundraising, venue selection, personnel selection, and marketing.
The appendices consist of worksheets and materials meant to illustrate and supplement this written how-to guide, as well as a video of the Windy City Opera production of La Bohème.