San Diego Opera still alive
Following several months of the kind of stress and drama befitting a classic opera tale, the board of directors of the San Diego Opera have reached a decision to undo a previous vote that would have shut down the company. Every member of the board voted to remain open, thus the 50th season of the opera will be staged.
Scheduled for 2015 are three complete shows: “Don Giovanni”, “La Bohème” and “Nixon in China” in its first staging in town.
Due to budget problems and lack of sales, the opera board had voted on March 19 to stop operations in April, the end of the 2014 season. This vote caused an uproar, both among the board members and the general public. Enough directors were opposed or changed their minds about the decision that two further votes resulting in postponing the shutdown.
Both budgetary reductions and the amount of donations made since the closure vote led to the vote to save the 2015 schedule of productions. Many union employees, including singers, have accepted a 10% lessening of their pay if staff members and management do the same. In an effort to increase the number of tickets sold, prices have been reduced to $35 each production for subscribing members and $105 for all three operas. Also, additional seats have been added to the $99 orchestra seats.
In terms of donations, an amount in excess of the $2 million goals was achieved. Added to that, board member and noted philanthropist Carol Lazier donated another $1 million following the initial vote for cancellation, (she had previously given $500,000 for the 2014 season). $3 million more is still needed to complete the 2015 season, but the board believes they will receive that much and more from further donations and ticket sales.
To cut costs even more, the San Diego Symphony, from where all of the musicians for the opera productions come, will allow the opera to use Copley Symphony Hall while waiving the rent, saving the San Diego Opera at least the $129,000 spent on rent at the Civic Theatre in previous years. Also, the Houston Grand Opera will be donating its sets for “Nixon in China”, a savings of $60,000.