26 March 2014

Strained Finances Force Indianapolis Opera to Cancel Final Show of 2013-14 Season

Indianapolis Opera has cancelled the final show of its 2013-14 season, Britten's Albert Herring, owing to mounting strains on the company's finances. 

Six performances of Britten's opera were slated to play in April and May at the 300-seat Basile Opera Center; James Caraher, the company's artistic director, was to have conducted. 

Instead, the company now intends to reach out to ticket holders for those performances with the option of exchanging their seats for a future show or receiving a refund. 

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by Indianapolis Opera, the company "started the 2013-2014 season with a board-supported plan to return to producing four mainstage productions," but opted to cancel the final show "rather than pushing forward [...] and risking further financial strain." In recent years, Indianapolis Opera has staged fewer mainstage performances at Butler University's 2,172-seat Clowes Hall, and has instead offered concert performances, chamber works and Indiana University productions as part of its subscription season. In 2010, the company similarly cancelled its final opera of the 2009-10 season, and ultimately presented just two productions.

"While the decision to cancel the production was difficult, Indianapolis Opera is focused on the future and long-term health of the company," the company's general director, Carol Baker, said in a statement. "We are blessed with a loyal, enthusiastic audience and a wonderful city, and we owe it to our community to be responsible stewards of the art form."

According to the company's last publicly available tax filing — reported on by the Indianapolis Business Journal  Indianapolis Opera reportedly ended its 2011-12 fiscal year with a $123,000 surplus, having generated approximately $2.08 million in revenue on $1.96 million in expenses. The Star reported that the Indianapolis Opera Company Foundation, ostensibly the organization governing the Opera's endowment, ended its 2011 fiscal year with assets of just $75,299, after having begun the year with net assets totaling $613,010.

According to the statement, Indianapolis Opera's board of directors has already made what it characterized as "significant strides" in an effort to address the company's finances and "[achieve] a solid future for the company with an aggressive business plan to move Indianapolis Opera towards sustainability in a rapidly changing economy." The company reportedly intends to announce its 2014-15 season, as well as details of its business plan, in the coming weeks. spacer 

More information can be found at The Indianapolis Star, ABC News and the Indianapolis Business Journal.

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Current Issue: August 2014 — VOL. 79, NO. 2