An Oak Park opera group has announced that it's closing curtain and canceling its last show, blaming the economy.
Verismo Opera Theatre, which got its start about a year ago, announced on Sunday afternoon that it is closing. The nonprofit had sent out a call on Friday, saying it needed to quickly raise $10,000 by Monday. That effort proved unsuccessful, and they decided to cancel their next show, Madama Butterfly, scheduled to debut in July.
Founders Yasmeen and Bradley Schuller started the company in March 2010, hoping to create a place for young opera singers to gain experience. Their last performance, of The Magic Flute earlier this year, was a success. But this time around, ticket sales and donations were lagging, said Yasmeen Schuller, who is also the managing director.
Madama Butterfly is a big production — with 20 people in the cast and chorus, along with costumes and a big set. Schuller said it was probably too much to tackle for such a small company.
"In retrospect, we were probably a little too young to take on something so big," she said, adding, "It was probably more from our hearts than our heads."
Verismo is now working to refund ticket sales to its patrons. Schuller, who works as a digital marketing manager, said she and her husband plan to "enjoy our summer" and "sleep better" after the stress of running an opera company.