Faced With Unexpected Budget Problems, Florida Grand Opera Overhauls Next Season's Plans

Classic Arts News   Faced With Unexpected Budget Problems, Florida Grand Opera Overhauls Next Season's Plans
Florida Grand Opera has scaled back its 2007-08 season to five operas from six and dropped plans to stage David DiChiera's new work Cyrano, which were announced last month.

The Miami Herald reports that ticket sales have been lower and operating costs higher than expected at the new Carnival Center, where the FGO opened this season at the Ziff Ballet Opera House with a sold-out run of Aida. The three operas FGO has presented since have sold far fewer tickets: 60% capacity for Abduction from the Seraglio and 75% for Manon Lescaut.

Operas removed from FGO's 2007-08 plans include Verdi's Nabucco, which was set to open the company's 67th season, along with Janácek's Jenufa and the premiere of Cyrano.

Instead, reports the Herald, the company will present revivals of Puccini's Tosca and Handel's Giulio Cesare. The rest of the original lineup — Puccini's La Bohème, Bizet's The Pearl Fishers and Mozart's Così fan tutte — remains the same.

FGO expanded from five to six operas this season. Justin Moss, the company's director of marketing and communications, told the paper, "Although we're selling tickets at a higher level [than during previous seasons], we haven't realized the bump in ticket sales that we had expected our first season in the new opera house."

Operating costs at the Carnival Center have reportedly been higher in part due to unforeseen expenditures. Carnival Center president and CEO Michael Hardy told the Herald that the equipment that shifts scenery is working slower than expected, increasing labor costs. "It hasn't had its final testing ... and it can't until the summer when the house is empty. But that's the only specific complaint that I've heard about the Ballet Opera House."

The company reportedly hopes to return to the six-opera schedule at some point.

In April of this year, the FGO presents the world premiere of David Carlson's Anna Karenina.

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