A recently debuted opera version of Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage netted the Arizona Opera a $1 million donation, among the largest in the organization's history.
As the Arizona Daily Star reported last week, the donation came from Scott Stallard and his wife, Marlu Allan. Stallard recalled getting "a glimpse of the future" when the curtain rose for the Grey-inspired production, which featured visuals designed by iconic Arizona artist Ed Mell, a friend of Arizona Highways.
The production saw two performances in Tucson in late February and three in Phoenix in early March. All five shows were nearly sold out, opera representatives said, and grossed nearly $400,000 — the organization's highest-grossing production in a dozen years.
The couple's gift is one of the largest individual donations the Arizona Opera has received. Stallard told the newspaper he was inspired to donate, in part, because many of those in attendance at Riders were non-opera fans experiencing the art form for the first time.
The couple are longtime supporters of the opera, and Stallard serves on the board of directors.
Riders of the Purple Sage received positive reviews during its run; plans for future performances of the opera have not yet been announced.