It's no secret the team here on Refined loves everything on stage in the Emerald City. And our sponsor, Seattle Opera is no exception. Right now, it's preparing for its production of Madame Butterfly. But in the meantime, there are big things happening back stage.
"We're breaking ground for a new building," said Barbara Lynne Jamison, Seattle Opera, Director of Education & Community Engagement. "It's so exciting to be breaking ground for Seattle Opera at the Center."
Seattle Opera is looking to expand its reach and unlock opera for a broader audience with the construction of a new production and rehearsal space at the Seattle Center.
"Opera is often seen as an old, stale art form for old, rich people," explained Jamison. "At Seattle Opera, we really believe everybody is entitled to tell their stories, and to elevate them to music. We believe these important stories that are shared among our community, that we can be a central gatherer of those stories, the teller of those stories. So, that means we have this new space where we can allow people to tell their stories and we can also cultivate and curate some stories and tell them."
The new world-class center for opera is going up next door to McCaw Hall, where Seattle Opera has wowed crowds for years.
"It's something we've been waiting for for a very long time," continued Jamison. "It's been very difficult to see the hunger for arts in the community and not be able to serve as much as we could. And with this new building, we're going to have the resources to do that. We're going to be able to invite people into the process of making opera with our costume shop being visible from the street. You can wander through the garden and look in and see how all these amazing costumes are made and young people seeing themselves in a vocation that's far beyond the stage but still very much tied to storytelling,"
Most importantly, the new building will allow Seattle Opera to share its art form with the masses.
"Right now, we serve about 70-thousand people throughout the state of Washington," said Jamison. "And a lot of kids. 35-thousand kids throughout the state. But people don't really see that. And they don't see we open our doors and we have people in often because we haven't had a home base to do that. This is going to give us a location where we can open our doors, be visibly welcoming to the community. We just want to be the storytellers, we want to help people tell their stories. And we believe this is something all people should do, no matter their race, their socio-economic class, and we want to make opera available for everyone."
Seattle Opera at the Center will be open Fall, 2018.