Board Drama Brings Hope for San Diego Opera

Board Drama Brings Hope for San Diego Opera

Shouts were reportedly heard from outside a closed-door San Diego Opera board of directors meeting that lasted four-and-a-half hours Thursday afternoon. In an eruption of emotions, some board members exited the meeting prematurely with anger, shouting and dramatic flair. 

Members are scrambling to solve the Opera’s financial woes before the impending April 29 shutdown.

Earlier this week, patrons had mourned what was scheduled to be the last performance of the San Diego Opera.

Board president Karen Cohn, along with a number of other board members, resigned. Board secretary Carol Lazier, who donated $1 million to the opera just last month, was named acting Board President subsequent to Cohn’s departure. Lazier has been committed to seeking a plan that keeps the opera open.

The fruit of this theatrical scene is a glimmer of hope for San Diego Opera lovers. Closure of the opera on April 29 was not stopped; however, according to Lazier, quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the board “did decide to pursue a plan recommended by the New York-based advocacy group Opera America.”

Under the new Opera America plan, the opera budget will shrink from the current 2014 budget of $17 million down to a mere $4.3 to 6.4 million.

General and Artistic Director Ian Campbell has become one focus of attention in the drawn-out battle over the revival of the San Diego opera. Campbell ranks as the seventh-highest paid opera official in the U.S. according to a report by the Union Tribune. According to the report, which lists data from 2012 federal tax filings, Campbell received $488,875 in base pay and $508,021 in total compensation. This amounted to 3.317% of the Opera’s budget that year.

Later the same evening, a packed and overflowing town hall meeting offered a question-and-answer session for public discussion. Marc Scorca of Opera America spoke at the meeting. Scorca suggested partnering with other arts organizations and selling tickets to live feed of performances in alternative, less-formal venues to save the opera.

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