Austin Opera plans to expand its offerings to include more Spanish language performances and programs, thanks to a $3.3 million contribution from Austin philanthropists, Sarah and Ernest Butler.
The donation, the largest single gift in the company’s history, will seed a $3 million endowment to support Spanish language programming as well as the appointment of Claudia Chapa as Austin Opera’s inaugural curator of Hispanic and Latinx programming.
“As native Texans, we find this initiative is close to our hearts. We feel it is thrilling progress towards serving the Central Texas community,” said Sarah Butler.
“This extraordinary act of philanthropy from Sarah and Ernest Butler will enable us to ensure that our artistic programming reflects the city that we serve for years to come,” said Annie Burridge, Austin Opera’s General Director & CEO. “Claudia’s work on our program demonstrated that she is not only an exceptionally talented artist, but also a gifted producer.”
Last year, Austin Opera launched “Concerts at the Consulate” a concert series in collaboration with the Consulate General of Mexico. The informal concerts spotlight Latinx composers and artists.
A native of Mexico and a mezzo-soprano Chapa has been curating the series since its launch. In her new role she will continue to expand Hispanic and Latinx programming. Chapa has been a regular favorite with Austin Opera audiences for her performances in The Magic Flute, The Flying Dutchman and Ariadne auf Naxos and on the company’s Live from Indy Terrace streaming platform.
“I am honored to be part of this forward-thinking initiative and grateful that Annie Burridge has integrated me into the amazing Austin Opera team,” said Chapa. “Opera is for everyone, and we reflect that on our stages.”