‘Riders of the Purple Sage’ Inspires $1 Million Gift To Arizona Opera

By David Salazar

Arizona Opera has just gotten a massive gift in the form of $1 million, one of the largest in its history.

According to Tuscon.com, the donation is coming from Scott Stallard and his wife Marlu Allan, who were thrilled earlier this season when they experienced the company’s world premiere of “Riders of the Purple Sage.”

“It was stunning,” Stallard said according to the report. “We saw that show and we had a glimpse of the future and how increasingly exciting … it is going forward. We just wanted to be a part of that.”

The gift was made with the intention of supporting new work at the company. “Riders,” which was the last in a five-year initiative to present regionally relevant work, was a massive hit for the company, outselling the 2015-16 season production of the repertory staple “Carmen.” According to Tuscon.com, “Riders” raked in $390,934 while Bizet’s masterwork brought in $373,466. “Riders’” gross was the biggest in 12 years.

“We just love the repertoire and the classics and increasingly the newer works they are bringing into the fold,” Stallard added said. “It’s fun for us to see new works, and it’s appealing to new audiences.”

Arizona Opera recently concluded its 2016-17 season with a run of Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.” The 2017-18 season will feature a number of repertory classics including “Tosca,” “Candide,” “The Barber of Seville” and “Das Rheingold.” It will open the season with “Hercules vs. Vampires” in October.