San Diego Opera Will Not Close, Announces 2015 Season

Monday, May 19, 2014 - 03:04 PM

Two months after a financially-strapped San Diego Opera announced it would shut down at the end of its 2014 season, the company's board of directors voted on Friday to put on a 50th anniversary season next year.

The turnaround comes after the company says it has raised about $4 million—including more than $2.1 million in an Internet-based crowdfunding campaign—towards a goal of $6.5 million. 

The fundraising effort follows a period of considerable upheaval and off-stage drama. The company's board voted on March 19 to close after its final production of the season, a decision that shocked many observers. At the time, general artistic director and CEO Ian Campbell told the board that decision would allow the company to wind down "with dignity and grace" rather than scrape for pennies.

But the planned shutdown prompted an outcry in the San Diego arts community, and brought national attention to the company, whose $15 million budget makes it the tenth largest company in the U.S. This was followed by a flurry of fundraising efforts, including $1 million challenge grant by its new board president, Carol Lazier.

There have also been cost-cutting measures. Musicians agreed to—or expressed a willingness to—take a 10 percent pay cut as long as similar cuts are taken throughout the company, according to KPBS Radio. Administrative staff will also take 10 percent pay cuts. The company will meet the balance of its roughly $10.5 million budget through earned income, including ticket sales.

The San Diego Opera's board has also undergone a shakeup over the last two months, and longtime CEO Campbell and his ex-wife, a fundraiser for the company, have both left.

A scaled-down 2015 season will open Jan. 24, 2015 with La boheme, followed by Don Giovanni and Nixon in China. Gala concerts will close the series of performances in April 2015. Ticket prices have also been reduced, to $35 for subscribers.


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Comments [8]

Adverbs ending in 'ly' do not get hyphenated.

Back to your regularly scheduled (*not regularly-scheduled*) programming.


May. 23 2014 01:51 AM
Bob Burroughs from Rhinebeck

Wonderful news! One of the nicest vacations my wife and I ever spent was about 15 years ago in San Diego. We were there for only three evenings, and out walking on one of them we passed a poster for the San Diego Opera. Cosi Fan Tutte was on that night, and we barely got in. A delightful evening, a masterful performance, and my favorite memory of San Diego.

May. 21 2014 05:06 PM

Bravo, San Diego! And down with all responsible for closing NYCO! Is it mere coincidence that City's last production, the mostly delightful "Anna Nicole" out at BAM, featured an elderly husband who, during his wildly successful real-life career as an investor, is said to have held a big stake in Koch Industries?

May. 20 2014 09:20 PM

@ concetta: "During pledge week, I actually heard ..."

I actually heard 'Voi che sapete' three times in one day during pledge week. And then again the next day.

It's pretty, but not that pretty.


May. 20 2014 08:48 PM
Nikhil Goyal from Łódź, PL

... happy days are here again.... :)))))

May. 20 2014 02:32 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

So glad this opera company was able to save itself. It is too bad that NYC Opera could not or was unwilling to find the right solution. The Metropolitan Opera should take heed and stop filling themselves with all their wonderfulness and come down to earth. That goes for QXR as well. During pledge week, I actually heard one of the announcers say that classical music was a spiritual awakening. A bit much. Yes, I can make these remarks as I am a monthly contributor. It would be poor form to criticize and not contribute.

May. 20 2014 02:16 PM
Brunnhilde from NYC

Bravo for San Diego Opera. They got rid of the right people, scheduled the right operas, all taking a 10% cut in salaries(including administration) ....AND reducing ticket prices. BRAVO. This is thinking that the New York City Opera couldn't do. They broke the company up, hired pick-ups instead of keeping the orchestra and chorus, had obscure repertoire, tacked the little surviving remnant of a company onto someone else's art program and kept the same people who created the problems.....

May. 20 2014 11:58 AM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

This is welcome news for the beleaguered opera community.This proves that there is hope for operagoers,who are wishing for the resurrection of NYCO,and sanity in the labor negotiations at the MET.

May. 19 2014 06:33 PM

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Operavore is WQXR's digital 24/7 audio stream and devoted to Opera. The Operavore blog features breaking news, expert commentary and reviews by writers Fred Plotkin, David Patrick Stearns, Amanda Angel and others. The music stream features a continuous, carefully programmed mix of classic and contemporary opera recordings.

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