Indianapolis Opera Faces Uncertainty After Longtime Director Quits

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The Indianapolis Opera, founded in 1975 and the only professional opera company in Indiana, has had a rocky season. Its fourth and final production, of Britten's Albert Herring, was cancelled due to a lack of funds and poor ticket sales. The company has been without an executive director since John Pickett left in May 2013, and also without a head of fundraising.

The other shoe dropped on Wednesday when artistic director James Caraher resigned after 33 years in the job. The company says it is holding off on announcing its 2014-15 until funding is more secure. “We don’t want to embark on a season and have to cancel another production,” general manager Carol Baker told the Indianapolis Business Journal.

The method of Caraher's resignation was particularly surprising to some observers: it came in an e-mail to Indianapolis's board of directors. He could not be reached for further comment. "When you deal with personnel issues, there's only so much someone can say about that," Baker told the IBJ.

"This is a big loss for us," Baker added. "It’s not going to derail us, but it opens to the door to different conversations."

The upheaval in Indianapolis comes as the financially troubled San Diego Opera is trying to revamp itself after supporters urged it to rescind a decision to shut down at the end of April. It has placed its general and artistic director, Ian Campbell, on paid leave, as well as his ex-wife, Ann Spira Campbell, who is a high-ranking administrator in the company.

Earlier this week, San Diego announced a fundraising campaign to raise $1 million by May 19 in order to ensure its survival. It had brought in just over $500,000 as of Friday afternoon.