By Diana Bradshaw
Reproduced below is the Year-End Matching Campaign letter penned by Diana Bradshaw, who draws on her experience with the Joan Baillie Archives at the COC to remind us that growth and artistic excellence rely not only on a forward-looking vision but a mindful preservation of the past.
"At the Canadian Opera Company, as our season concludes each spring, we embark on the Year-End Matching Campaign. The concept is simple: any gift you make before June 30, 2014, will be completely matched in value by an anonymous donor. This instantly doubles the impact of your gift and goes a long way towards helping the COC with its annual operations.
Funds from the campaign will support key COC programs, including the Joan Baillie Archives, where I have worked for four years, alongside five knowledgeable and hard-working volunteers. Here, we collect, catalogue and preserve objects and documents from decades of the company’s history. These include administrative records, audio and video recordings of COC performances, set and costume designs, slides and photographs, as well as newspapers, journals, periodicals and gifts by long-time subscribers of memorable opera performances.
As a repository of public history, the Joan Baillie Archives are a living record of how operatic performance has evolved in Canada over the last 64 years and where it is heading today. Furthermore, these archives are essential to the COC’s sense of identity as an artistic institution. The question of who we are is as much about how the company got here as it is about where we are going. Did you know that even the COC’s logo (take a look at the top of this page) is designed to symbolize this? As a palindrome-figure, it is open on both sides at once, suggesting that the present is framed by the continuing interaction between our storied past and our bright future.
The same is true of our experience at the opera house. Each production is part of a perpetual conversation between tradition and innovation, between our past and our future, out of which emerges the vital, contemporary present. By giving to the Year-End Campaign, you will be supporting that process on the stage, as well as in the archives.
I hope we can count on your help with the Year-End Matching Campaign this year. With your support we will be able to ensure that the past continues to inform our present and inspire our future.
Help us collect, archive and preserve the history of the Canadian Opera Company. Maximize your gift by giving before June 30, 2014.
Call us at 416-847-4949 or Donate Now!
Photos: (middle) Provincial incorporation documents for the Canadian Opera Company; (bottom) Poster for a 1958 production of The Barber of Seville. Images from the Joan Baillie Archives.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001