San Diego Opera Will Present 2015 Season; Company Cuts Costs With Relocation, Staff and Pay Reductions

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07 Jul 2014

Staff reductions, salary cuts and a relocation of its office are some of the cost-cutting measures the San Diego Opera is employing, according to the Los Angeles Times.



The Times reports that opera will move its headquarters from downtown San Diego's Civic Center Plaza near its main performance venue, the Civic Theatre. The move will save more than $400,000 in rent. It has reduced its annual operating budget to approximately $10.5 million; the company has reported budgets of around $15 million per year in previous seasons. 

Staff reductions are also part of the opera's plan; in May 13 people were laid off, reducing approximately one-third of its staff. Additionally, the opera has previously said that pay cuts will be part of the cost-saving measures.

The opera had announced in March that it would close just prior to its 50th anniversary due to declining ticket sales and challenges in fundraising. The announcement prompted a strong response from the artistic community, and March 31 it voted to postpone the closure for two weeks.

In April, the company also announced that in three days of crowd-sourced fundraising through its newly created escrow account, over $300,000 has been raised. Over 85% of these donations were gifts less than $1,000, and many were from first-time donors.

Additionally, the opera's board elected new officers during a board meeting April 28. The new executive committee includes Carol Lazier as president, Courtney Ann Coyle as executive vice president, James A. Merritt, M.D. as vice president of finance and Frances R. Marshall as secretary/parliamentarian.

The opera had been scheduled to close and begin selling assets April 14, following its presentation of Don Quixote, and dismantle the company by the end of the opera's fiscal year June 30. The closure date was then extended through May 19, and in May the opera officially rescinded its decision to shut down.

The 2015 season, which will feature three productions rather than the usual four, is scheduled to begin in January.

Visit sdopera.com for more information.