Willi Grove, the company's vice president for planned giving, told the Dispatch, ''Opera Columbus is not folding. But I can't tell you yet whether there will be a next season."
The company needs to raise $1 million by June 30 to pay various debts. Performances of Madama Butterfly scheduled this season have been cancelled to save money. BalletMet Columbus has lent the opera the scenery from the David Nixon ballet Butterfly, set to orchestral music from the Puccini opera, at no charge.
Artistic director Bill Boggs told the Dispatch that he took a 75 percent salary cut in July 2005. Instead of the $49,000 a year he was slated to receive, he is earning $12,000, plus $6,000 to $10,000 for each of the three operas he was due to conduct.
Opera Columbus was founded in 1981; it also faced closure in 1991, when it was saddled with a $1.3 million debt. Board members will meet Friday to discuss the future of the company, which according to Grove, needs to shrink its annual budget to $1.5 million the current level of $3.5-$4 million.
Dobard will stay on as a consultant until his contract expires on April 30.