Dufour reportedly aims to reduce the company's C$1.9 million deficit by C$1 million by the end of the current season. Montreal's The Gazette quotes him as saying, "Things could always be better, but I don't know many cultural organizations that have worked on its deficit as quickly." He attributed the turnaround to increased ticket sales this season (92% capacity, according to the paper) and an intense fundraising campaign by chairman Alexandre Taillefer.
The company also announced four productions for its 2007-08 season at Montreal's Place des Arts: Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Gounod's Rom_o et Juliette and Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.
The season opens on September 22 with Jean Bard's new production of Ballo. Tenor Richard Margison will sing Riccardo, with soprano Manon Feubel as Amelia; Gregory Vajda conducts.
Marc Hervieux and Maureen O'Flynn sing the title roles in Rom_o et Juliette; Jean-Yves Ossonce conducts and Michael Cavanagh directs.
A revival of Robert Prevost's 1970s production of Barbiere features Aaron St. Clair Nicholson in the title role and Julie Boulianne as Rosina; Fr_d_ric Antoun sings Count Almaviva, and Jacques Lacombe conducts the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. (The other three productions use the Orchestre M_tropolitain du Grand Montr_al.)
In Madama Butterfly, Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura makes her North American debut in the title role, with American tenor Richard Troxell as Pinkerton. Yannick N_zet-S_guin conducts and Moffat Oxenbould directs.
The Op_ra de Montr_al season also includes a double-bill by the company's Atelier Lyrique at the Monument National: Ravel's L'heure espagnole and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Il segreto di Susanna. Alain Trudel conducts.
Dufour also announced the promotion of Michel Beaulac, a Montreal native, from artistic administrator to artistic director, accoding to the Gazette. He succeeds Bernard Labadie, who resigned after the 2005-2006 season.