SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Opera (Opera) will
wind down operations upon the conclusion of its final performance of Don Quixote of the 2014 Season on
April 13, according to Opera General & Artistic Director, CEO Ian D.
Campbell. The sold-out performance of the Verdi Requiem will be performed
tomorrow night as planned.
“After nearly 50 years as a San Diego
cultural cornerstone providing world-class performances, we saw we faced an
insurmountable financial hurdle going forward,” Campbell explained. “We had a choice of winding down with dignity
and grace, making every effort to fulfill our financial obligations, or inevitably
entering bankruptcy, as have several other opera companies.
“Our Board voted today to take the first
choice. We will begin winding down
operations after the last performance of Don
Quixote on Sunday, April 13,” he added.
“After that, it will take an indeterminate period of time to complete
Board Chair Karen S. Cohn described it as a
heart-wrenching, but unavoidable decision.
“After 28 consecutive years of balanced budgets, it was clear that we
could not continue. In spite of
excellent financial management, the Opera faced increasingly higher ticket-sale
and fund-raising hurdles.”
The Opera, ranked among the top 10 opera
companies in the nation by Opera America, and one of 13 Cornerstone Arts
Organizations by the James Irving Foundation, exemplified product quality. The U-T
San Diego arts writer James Chute recently wrote, “If you had to identify a
single opera that embodied the values and aspirations of the San Diego Opera,
you’d have to point to its exceptional production of Verdi’s A Masked Ball.”
But both the patron base and donor base for
opera companies are diminishing. San
Diego Opera is not an isolated example.
Other opera companies that have gone out of business include the New
York City Opera, Opera Boston, Opera Cleveland, Baltimore Opera, San Antonio
Opera and, closer to home, Lyric Opera San Diego and Opera Pacific in Orange
The Opera will stage one performance of
Verdi’s Requiem March 20, and four
performances of Massenet’s Don Quixote April 5, 8, 11 and 13 before ceasing operations.
“Although it is a sad day for San Diego
culturally, we have to thank everyone who supported us for nearly 50 years,”
Campbell added. “It is better to go out with
dignity, on a high note with heads held high than to slip into the night,
leaving creditors and community in the lurch.”
The Opera originated as the San Diego Opera Guild in
1950. The San Diego Opera Association
was incorporated in 1965, and current General & Artistic Director, CEO Ian
D. Campbell was hired from the Metropolitan Opera in 1983.
Labels: San Diego, San Diego Opera