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Elba Haid, Chair Manitoba Opera Bord of Trustees (left) presenting Gail Asper (right)with the award named for her.

Tribute to Gail Asper is Manitoba Opera's Most Successful Fundraiser in its 46 year old history

by Rhonda Spivak September 26, 2018


Manitoba Opera 's  tribute to philanthropist Gail Asper for her exemplary leadership and vision at a Gala Reception  held Thursday, September 13, 2018  was the company's most successful fundraising event in its 46 year history. The funds were raised for the Manitoba Opera's productions and education programs at the event which was held at the Manitoba Club.


Elba Haid, Chair of the Manitoba Board of Trustees said “We are so delighted by the success of this event. I can think of no better honoree than Gail Asper, who has done so much for arts and culture in Canada. With her support, this fundraiser generated over $230,000 for Manitoba Opera, with donations still coming in. I’d like to say ‘Bravo’ to everyone who was involved in making this event the triumph that it was.”


Gail Asper told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that the event "was a splendid evening for a most worthy cause. I  applaud all the volunteers and committee members who put together an unforgettable evening. I want to give a huge thank you to all the donors and sponsors who helped make this the Manitoba Opera's most successful fundraiser yet."  


At the event the Manitoba Opera honoured Asper with the inaugural Gail Asper Award.Asper told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that "It is a very meaningful honour to have an award named after me." In future seasons, Manitoba Opera will present the Gail Asper award to individuals who, like its namesake, also demonstrate exemplary leadership in a field of endeavor or pursuit of a visionary goal.


Asper said "I look forward to  attending many more Manitoba Opera fundraisers in the future, where other passionate arts supporters are going to be recognized for their efforts and impact." 


A press release issued by the Manitoba Opera before the event referred to Asper  as exemplifying Canadian generosity and being a "tireless champion for arts and culture. A visionary dreamer whose courage and conviction inspire others to see Manitoba’s vast potential, Asper inspires us to serve, to give, and to make our community a better place. Asper has created a legacy of philanthropy in our country which resonates from coast to coast, standing as a benchmark for those who will come after. Her decades of service to others have made an indelible and unparalleled imprint on Canadians..."


“We’re thrilled with the success of the tribute event in honour of Gail and the launching of The Gail Asper Award,” said Larry Desrochers, General Director and CEO of Manitoba Opera. “Manitoba Opera is such an integral part of Manitoba’s cultural community, offering opportunities to young artists, local artists, and working with organizations like the WSO.  The success of the tribute event really helps to deliver high quality productions, hire top-notch singers and present enriching education programs.” 



For the Gala Reception honouring Asper the Manitoba Opera created an Honorary Committee to oversee the organization of the Gala Reception and to garner support. . It was led by Honorary Co-Chairs: Brenlee Carrington-Trepel, Moe Levy, and Hope Morry. The Honorary Committee was comprised of Ruth Asper, David and Gursh Barnard, Mariam Bernstein, Marjorie Blankstein, Diane Boyle, John and Bonnie Buhler, Jean Giguere, Susan Glass, Debbie Gray, Peter Herrndorf, Richard Morantz, Howard Morry, John Stefaniuk, Deborah Thorlakson, Arni Thorsteinson, Sheree Walder, and Jayne Watson.


Also working on this initiative was Manitoba Opera’s Special Events Committee chaired by Abbie Grieder (MO Board of Trustees). It includes Donna Balcaen, Diane Berger, Karen Bryk, Larry Desrochers, MO General Director & CEO, Elba Haid, (Chair, MO Board of Trustees) Luisa Matheson (MO Board of Trustees), Liz Miller (MO staff), Aleksandra Ossipova, Shelley Robertson, Alex Robinson (MO Board of Trustees), Sandra Schmidtke (MO staff), and Dustin Schneider (MO Board of Trustees).

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.