LSM Newswire

Sunday, May 11, 2014

San Diego Opera, Singers Union Announce Desire to Collaborate to Save Opera Company

San Diego, CA – San Diego Opera and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) - the union representing the Opera's soloists, choristers, dancers, choreographers, directors, and stage management personnel - have announced plans to work together for newly revived, vibrant opera company.

Following the March 19, 2014, announcement of San Diego Opera’s closure, AGMA formally inquired about the Opera's intentions to honor contracts which the Opera had signed with 35 solo singers at least a year, and in some cases two years, in advance. AGMA then filed suit in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) compelling the Company to honor its contractual agreement to arbitrate.
San Diego Opera’s Board of Directors met in April to explore alternatives to closing the Opera, which had been slated for April 29. With the Company reconsidering its planned closure and opening a productive dialogue with AGMA, the union withdrew its request for a TRO and is working cooperatively with the Company towards a productive 2015 season and beyond.
“AGMA’s withdrawal of this lawsuit shows the collaborative nature now occurring at San Diego Opera,” stated Board President Carol Lazier. “Unfortunately, it took a near-death experience to create a unified Company ready to propel us forward. AGMA’s dismissal of this lawsuit frees up much needed resources, shows a willingness to work together towards a vibrant future and is a vote of confidence that such a future exists for the Company and the incredibly talented artists it employs.”
AGMA National Executive Director Alan Gordon said, "We are pleased with the San Diego Opera Board's decision to work to keep the Opera open, and particularly their commitment to treat AGMA's members with the respect they deserve.  This Board's constructive actions offers hope that the San Diego Opera can once again look forward to a bright future.  If the Opera makes good on its intentions to honor its contractual commitments, we don't need or want another lawsuit."
AGMA represents 7000 opera singers and production staff and ballet dancers at every principal opera house and dance company in the United States and, in partnership with Actors Equity Association, represents the fashion model members of the labor advocacy group known as The Model Alliance.

When San Diego Opera's management first announced its intent to shutter the Company and sell off its assets, the original closure date was April 14, 2014, the day after the Company’s final sold-out performance of Don Quixote. A Board vote on March 31, 2014, delayed the closure by two weeks until April 29, 2014. Another vote by the Board on April 18, 2014, extended that closure date to at least May 19, 2014.

The Company is currently fund-raising for a 2015 season that it hopes to announce shortly. On April 25, the Company announced a crowd-funding campaign with a $1 million goal, utilizing an escrow account designed to protect donor contributions if the goal is not met, or a 2015 performing season is not announced. In 12 days of fundraising the Company has raised more than $800,000 in donations ranging from $10 - $50,000. 42% of these donations have been from first time donors.

Tax deductible donations restricted to the 2015 season can be made online at http://www.sdopera.com/moveforward (anytime) or by phone at (619) 533-7000(Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM). San Diego Opera is also accepting unrestricted tax deductible donations for the 2014 season.

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