San Diego Business Journal

Opera's Death Scene Takes a Turn as Board Votes to Postpone Closure

By Mike Allen Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Apparently the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

Following a four-hour meeting March 31, the board of directors of the San Diego Opera voted 35-4 to postpone closing the organization until April 29.

The board also appointed a special committee to take a deeper look into the organization’s financial situation and determine whether it can move forward with a 2015 season, said Edward Wilensky, the opera’s media relations director.

Last month, the opera made a stunning announcement it would be shutting down April 13 following the conclusion of the last opera of this season, ”Don Quixote.”

At that time, Ian Campbell, the opera’s chief executive and artistic director, said the nearly 50-year-old arts group “faced an insurmountable financial hurdle” that led to either bankruptcy or winding down the company’s operations “with dignity and grace.”

In response, hundreds of opera workers and opera lovers have been soliciting petitions calling on the board to reconsider its decision. An online petition gathered nearly 20,000 signatures as of early April 1.

While its performances have helped put the San Diego Opera among the best in the nation, Campbell and other opera executives said ticket sales and donations aren’t sufficient to keep its operations afloat.

“After 28 consecutive years of balanced budgets, it was clear that we could not continue,” said Board Chairman Karen Cohn in a statement last month.

According to one published report, the organization would need about $16 million in donations and advanced ticket sales to undertake another season, which would be its golden anniversary.