San Francisco Opera Ends Fiscal Year With Budget Surplus

Classic Arts News   San Francisco Opera Ends Fiscal Year With Budget Surplus
 
San Francisco Opera has ended the fiscal year 2006 with a surplus of more than half a million dollars on a budget of more than $60 million.

The audited final figure for the surplus is $557,367 on an annual operating budget of $60,401,983. The company's operating revenue grew by almost 23%, from $24,292,464 to $29,866,346, with income from ticket sales for the core season surpassing $20 million for the first time in four years.

Over $31 million in contributions were received to the annual fund from nearly 10,000 donors.

During the 2005-2006 season, SFO presented 74 performances of nine operas and performed for nearly 300,000 people both inside and outside the War Memorial Opera House.

Music director and principal conductor Donald Runnicles led five of the nine main stage productions, which included the world premiere of Doctor Atomic by composer John Adams and librettist/director Peter Sellars. The season also included Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri, Handel's Rodelinda; Bellini's Norma, a new production of Verdi's La forza del destino, Beethoven's Fidelio, Tchaikovsky's Orleanskaya deva (Joan of Arc), Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Puccini's Madama Butterfly, which was featured on a live outdoor simulcast at Civic Center Plaza on the opening night of the summer season.

There were several leadership changes this year. David Gockley became general director on January 1, succeeding Pamela Rosenberg, who served in the position from 2001 to 2005 and goes on to the Berlin Philharmonic. Karl Mills stepped down as president on July 31 and assumed the role of vice-chairman; George Hume became president on August 1. Gockley appointed American stage director Francesca Zambello as artistic adviser.

A five-year contract (effective August 2006 through July 2011) between the SFO and the local chapter of the American Federation of Musicians was signed in May 2006.

The balanced budget was possible in part due to cost reductions in artistic administration, music administration and production; changes in programming; a reduced administrative headcount; creation of a new workers' compensation program; cost-saving changes in health and pension plans for both the orchestra and the administrative staff; and the re-bidding of nearly every major vendor contract.


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