Lyric Opera of Chicago

An open letter from David T. Ormesher, Chairman of the Board

Dear All,

As I look back at the 2017/18 season, I am both encouraged by the progress we have made toward creating a more sustainable business model for this terrific company and cognizant of how much work is still to be done.

Like so many arts organizations across the nation, Lyric is undergoing a period of rapid transformation to address growing competition for our audiences’ attention and our donors’ ongoing investment. We are working diligently, and creatively, to expand our audience base, grow tickets sales, secure new sources of revenue and engage our communities – and we have seen significant success from these endeavors. Our annual musical saw record ticket sales during the 2017/18 season and our Presentation & Events business continued to expand rental income. Our ability to fill our house for grand opera performances is unusually high among our peer group thanks to more rigorous season planning and to new strategies being deployed by our marketing team. I am also very pleased to report that the educational and community engagement programs delivered through Lyric Unlimited reached more than 95,000 children and families during the 2017/18 season.

As we look ahead, it is our responsibility as Board members to continue to build on this progress. We have done a great deal of work in recent years to create a more sustainable financial structure for Lyric, and we thank all of our employees, both administrative and union staff, for their support during the process. 

The next key frontier will be to grow contributed revenue. This is a vital part of Lyric’s overall balance sheet. Even as our Breaking New Ground campaign officially came to end, our donors continued to give generously over the past year and all of our Boards are to be applauded for their outstanding efforts to support our company. We are working now to strengthen our underlying fiscal structure to ensure we remain worthy of our donors’ continued investment while, at the same time, cultivating new donor relationships that will help to support Lyric’s future. We have made solid progress over the past year but fully expect this will be a multi-year and multi-faceted strategy as we adapt to our new realities. 

In short, I am confident we are on the right path and look forward to sharing our continued progress.



David T. Ormesher
Chairman of the Board