19 March 2014

San Diego Opera, Facing Insurmountable Financial Hurdles, to Cease Operations After 2014 Season

San Diego Opera announced today that it intends to cease all operations after its final performance of Massenet's Don Quixote on April 13, 2014. The company, which began presenting performances as the San Diego Opera Guild in 1950 before being incorporated in 1965, says that its finances are in irreparable condition, and that closing following the conclusion of its 2014 season is the only responsible course of action to its creditors.

"After nearly fifty years as a San Diego cultural cornerstone providing world-class performances, we saw we faced an insurmountable financial hurdle going forward,” Ian Campbell, the company's general and artistic director and CEO, said in a statement issued today by the company.  “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. After that, it will take an indeterminate period of time to complete that process."

Ranked among the top-ten opera companies in the nation by OPERA America, San Diego Opera has been left in extremis by the declining patron and donor bases that have similarly felled other American companies, including New York City Opera, Opera Boston, Baltimore Opera and Opera Cleveland.

"After 28 consecutive years of balanced budgets, it was clear that we could not continue," said the company's board chair, Karen S. Cohn. "In spite of excellent financial management, the Opera faced increasingly higher ticket-sale and fund-raising hurdles."

Before ending operations, the company intends to present a single concert performance of Verdi's Requiem on March 20, as well as four performances of Massenet's Don Quixote on April 5, 8, 11 and 13. 

"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." spacer

More information can be found at San Diego Opera and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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