Las Vegas Sun

August 27, 2014

Currently: 80° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Opera :

Vegas’ art world abuzz over Smith Center

Resident status would be big deal for small company

Sun Archives

Talk to anyone from Nevada Ballet Theatre or the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the conversation inevitably turns to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

The $475 million project is on everybody’s mind. The facility, often touted by supporters as “a world-class performing arts center,” is scheduled to break ground in January in downtown’s 61-acre Union Park.

Even smaller organizations are starting to stir.

Opera Las Vegas, aiming to become the resident opera company at the Smith Center, mentioned its vision before the company’s Puccini concert Sunday and asked for the community’s support. It’s an ambitious plan. The 7-year-old organization knows that.

So what exactly does it take to become a resident company that gets booking priority?

Just the basics, really.

Myron Martin, president of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation, says a resident company in the eyes of the Smith Center is one that produces and presents a number of performances each year and has a history of financial success and a large following of subscribers and patrons.

That’s a little difficult with opera, the costliest of the performing arts, because Las Vegas doesn’t have a company offering a season of full-scale operas. The Smith Center, which will play host to traveling Broadway productions, will provide the fly space needed for opera.

“We’ve had conversations with a number of musical theater and dance groups about performing at the Smith Center,” Martin says.

This includes the 23-year-old Nevada Opera Theatre. Aside from some gigs at Artemus Ham Hall and Paris Las Vegas (both by Nevada Opera Theatre) and the Horn Theatre (Las Vegas Opera), the two companies have been performing mostly at outdoor venues, recital halls and community centers.

“At present we have two resident companies going into the Smith Center — Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. We hope that in time the number of residence companies will expand.”

For now groups wanting to perform at the Smith Center need only find open dates on the calendar and be able to pay the rent. The organization has fees in mind, but is not yet discussing them publicly, Martin says.

Nor is it filling its calendar. After all, opening day isn’t for another three years.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy