18 April 2014

San Diego Opera Further Defers Shutdown Date Following Election of New Board President

San Diego Opera, teetering on the brink of extinction following the March 19 announcement that the company intended to cease all operations after its current season, has elected a new board president and further deferred a drop-dead closure date for the organization, it announced today.

Today the company issued an announcement that Carol Lazier, the former secretary of SDO's board, will now serve as the acting president of the organization. The news came after what was reportedly a contentious four-hour board meeting on April 17, which saw the resignations of board president Karen Cohn as well as twelve other directors.

On April 7, Lazier pledged $1 million to shore up the company's precarious finances and to encourage San Diego Opera's board members to "rescind the dissolution vote" that took place while exploring ways to redefine the company. 

In addition to Lazier's appointment, the board passed a resolution on Thursday to defer its previously announced April 29 closure date until at least May 19, 2014, so that the reconstituted board might explore a "explore opportunities to continue the Opera Association's mission." On the advice of OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, the company reportedly intends to explore donor and fundraising options that would allow it to produce a 2015 season. According to the company's education director Nicolas Reveles, who was quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune, OPERA America's plan for San Diego Opera has proposed budget cuts ranging from $4.3 million to $6.4 million; the company's 2014 operating budget amounted to roughly $17 million.  

"We have a devoted staff, an energized Association and a board newly focused on finding novel and fiscally responsible ways to present great opera to the City of San Diego," Lazier said in a statement issued by the company. "I have been deeply encouraged by the outpouring of public support, and the genuine and enthusiastic participation by the San Diego Symphony, Opera America, and the opera world.  Together we can recreate San Diego Opera’s future." 

According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Lazier declined to comment when asked if Ian Campbell, the opera’s general and artistic director, was still affiliated with the San Diego Opera. 

Lazier also told the Union-Tribune that she would convene a special meeting of the San Diego Opera Associations's members — which includes those who gave more than $100 to the company during its 2014 season — prior to the April 29 shutdown date. According to California Corporations Code, the organization's board and its members have the capacity to avert the shutdown and sale of SDO's assets when the transaction is not "in the usual and regular course of activities." spacer

More information can be found at the Union-Tribune, the OPERA NEWS Archives (herehere and here), the Los Angeles Times (here, here and here), the New York Times and San Diego Opera.

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