The 49-year-old San Diego Opera will permanently curtain-down on April 13, following the final performance of Massenet’s Don Quichotte.
Yesterday, its board of directors voted 33:1 to cease operations at the end of the current season, citing 'increasingly higher ticket sale and fund-raising hurdles' along with dwindling patrons and donors as insurmountable hurdles. Hefty administrative costs include/d the annual compensation of General & Artistic Director and ceo Ian D. Campbell (who's been at the helm since 1983) listed on the theater's 990s, figures found here.
Campbell said in a press release circulated by the opera house:
“After nearly 50 years as a San Diego cultural cornerstone providing world-class performances, we saw we faced an insurmountable financial hurdle going forward. 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."
San Diego Opera -- which runs on a $15 million annual operating budget with ticket sales covering one-third of costs -- is ranked as the 10th largest American opera company and the third largest cultural institution in San Diego.
San Diego’s not alone. Opera misery loves opera company. Since the 2008 financial crisis, American opera houses risk collapse like the toppled New York City Opera, the Cleveland Opera and the Baltimore Opera, among others. Who's next? We’re watching through our fingers like Hitchcock flicks.
Despite solid artistic programming and singer star wattage -- Feruccio Furlanetto, Patricia Racette, Stephanie Blythe, Stephen Costello, Ailyn Perez, Nino Surgurladze -- all we're saying is that a March 15th article on the San Diego Union Tribune about banning/breeding orcas from SeaWorld San Diego has twice as many comments as the closing of the city’s 49-year-old opera house. But we're not blaming the consumer -- Shamu's irresistible and opera's the dark horse. But throw that horse into an aquarium, paint his chin panda white and we're not convinced that he'd know how to turn tricks even for the tastiest anchovies or Fish McBites or penguins or whatever. That said -- Shamu's kind of an a$$hole.