26 June 2012

Seattle Opera to Curtail Number of Mainstage Productions Following Season Shortfall, Economic Challenges

Seattle Opera plans to curtail the number of mainstage productions it will present each season in light of an anticipated $1 million deficit generated from its 2011-12 season and ongoing economic challenges, the company announced today. 

The company plans to present its five-opera 2012-13 season as announced; it will also present three Ring cycles in August 2013. But the company's 2013-14 season proper will consist of three mainstage productions, and, beginning in 2014, the company will produce four operas each season instead of the current five, company administrators said. Seattle Opera's previously announced production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which had been slated for the summer of 2014, will be replaced by the company's International Wagner Competition. Likewise, the company announced that it intends to only produce operas during the summer when it presents the Ring

"Since the economic downturn began in 2008, Seattle Opera's staff and Board have worked hard each season to balance the company's budget," William Weyerhaeuser, the president of Seattle Opera's board of trustees, said in a press release issued by the company. "This season, a special task force comprised of members of the board of trustees and company management has taken a careful look at the company's finances and has proposed structural changes to ensure a sustainable business model."

Seattle Opera has operated without a deficit for eighteen of the past nineteen seasons, but a shortfall resulting from the current season's presentation of thirty-six performances of five mainstage productions, two Young Artist productions and the organization's education and community engagement efforts forced the company to explore alternative season models. In addition to fewer mainstage performances, Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program will present a concert in lieu of a fully-staged opera production during the 2012-13 season, and will go on hiatus during the 2013-14 season. Other operational reductions include leadership salary cuts, artist fee reductions and the elimination of four full-time staff positions. 

"In the nearly 30 years I've had the privilege to work with this great company, we have set our sights on many ambitious goals, and achieved them," said Speight Jenkins, Seattle Opera's general director, who will retire from the company in September 2014. "Given the economic situation, and our need responsibly to steward the money contributed by our community of donors and ticket-buyers, we are making some changes to our long-range plans. When the financial situation improves, we will move as quickly as possible to restore what we have at this time either eliminated or put on hold." spacer 

More information can be found at Seattle Opera.

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