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San Diego Opera Closes At End Of This Season2014 Season will be the last


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#1 pherank

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 08:09 PM

"In a surprising move, the company announced Wednesday that it will cease operations at the end of the current season, citing financial reasons including a tough fundraising environment and weak ticket sales."

 

http://www.latimes.c...y#axzz2wTLekBJD

 

Having gone a couple of times myself this year, I can say that the productions have been of good quality, but the audience is aging. As my father pointed out, the opera also employs a good many of the SD Symphony musicians in-between Symphony engagements. So this will have an unfortunate ripple effect in the local arts community. Very sad.



#2 diane

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 02:53 AM

Yes, very sad, indeed!

 

Are all of these entities privately funded? 

 

-d-



#3 sandik

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 07:31 AM

Oh this is awful news.



#4 pherank

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 11:03 AM

Yes, very sad, indeed!

 

Are all of these entities privately funded? 

 

-d-

 

In this country, yes. The list of large donors is always advertised on the pamphlets handed out at the opera (and it's a long list of people, many of whom are prominent in SD/Southern California). I found this interesting website that charts donations for U.S. non-profit organizations:

 

http://www.milliondo...san-diego-opera



#5 diane

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 01:51 PM

Wow! That is interesting that the SD Opera was basically supported by one, big donation from one person at one time. 

That is of course hard to beat. 

 

So, so too bad. 

 

-d-



#6 pherank

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 01:57 PM

Wow! That is interesting that the SD Opera was basically supported by one, big donation from one person at one time. 

That is of course hard to beat. 

 

So, so too bad. 

 

-d-

 

The website is only listing the one million and above grants from donors, but we can imagine that in years when there are no large grants, these art companies really rely on grass root efforts - and those are falling way short these days.



#7 diane

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 02:09 PM

Ah, yes - of course! Sorry for my assumption! 

 

Are the "smaller" donations falling short due to everyone - across-the-board - having less and being therefore less able to share, do you think?

 

 

-d-



#8 pherank

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 02:19 PM

Ah, yes - of course! Sorry for my assumption! 

 

Are the "smaller" donations falling short due to everyone - across-the-board - having less and being therefore less able to share, do you think?

 

 

-d-

 

Polls in the U.S. have shown for some time that the citizenry are convinced that the economy is doing poorly (even when in fact - by the usual indicators - it isn't doing all that badly. The economy continues to grow, and unemployment isn't nearly as bad in the US as in most other nations). But "consumer confidence" is definitely low. I think a great many people in the US feel like they are barely keeping their heads above water, or they aren't. I suppose I am in the same boat, but I have to think that the real issue is how people feel about their lives - if you like what you are doing in life, it doesn't matter nearly as much that you are not wealthy.



#9 sandik

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 03:50 PM

There is, as you might imagine, quite a lot of research done about charitable donations to cultural organizations.  Alas, we are in a tough period right now.  The generation that grew up listening to the Met Opera broadcasts, and went on to found local arts agencies and organizations in their home communities are ageing out of the donor and audience pool.  The current cohort is likely to give more to social service organizations than to the arts at this point, and is less interested in giving large, relatively unencumbered gifts.  We're also losing the big, uncompensated volunteer groups, especially ones run primarily by women, who are now working for pay in much larger numbers than previously.

 

I'm not sure if this is just a local (Seattle) phenomenon, or perhaps something that's replicated in other communities, but the big social/fundraising organization in Seattle (PONCHO) closed a couple years ago, after years of very generous giving.  They were founded in the 1960s (a huge period for growth in local cultural groups), and over time created an extremely successful auction program.  They were very careful about their grant program -- if you managed to get PONCHO money it was a stamp of approval for all kinds of other organizations.  But in the last 10 years or so they lost several of their long-time organizers, they had to compete with myriad other auction-format fundraisers, and they finally decided to close up shop.  It's been a big paradigm shift here.



#10 diane

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 04:00 AM

Very interesting how different countries/cultures go about funding things which are important to them. (especially "fringe" things, such as youth activities and "cultural" ones)

 

There are countries, notably some of the Scandinavian ones, where reportedly most citizens would disapprove of a lowering of taxes, as they are quite aware of all the things which taxes fund and make possible in their communities. 

That does not appear to be the case everywhere. 

 

-d-



#11 sandik

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 08:52 AM


That does not appear to be the case everywhere. 

 

-d-

 

No kidding.



#12 pherank

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 11:20 AM

Youtube happens to have a preview video of one of the operas that I saw this past season: Donizetti's Elixir of Love. This gives some sense of what is going away (and all the people being impacted)...

 



#13 diane

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 12:41 PM

-sigh- 

 

There is no hope that San Diego Opera will somehow continue, is there? Once something like this is gone, it is really really hard to get it started again. 

As the quote of the beginning of the video said, "dying is easy...." 

 

I hope that the symphony is not going to be the next one. :( And then the museums.... and .... :( :( 

 

-d-



#14 pherank

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 01:11 PM

-sigh- 

 

There is no hope that San Diego Opera will somehow continue, is there? Once something like this is gone, it is really really hard to get it started again. 

As the quote of the beginning of the video said, "dying is easy...." 

 

I hope that the symphony is not going to be the next one. sad.png And then the museums.... and .... sad.pngsad.png

 

-d-

 

I think the first worry is the impact on the musicians (most of whom are part of the SD Symphony) - will the reduction in income necessitate leaving the area? Or are there simply too few places to fine equivalent work?

 

As for a rescue of the Opera, I think that will require the participation of the under 30 crowd. And that's not happening.



#15 California

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 02:34 PM

I went to a performance of Opera Colorado last week, which performs in the same Caulkins Opera House as the Colorado Ballet, and was struck at the different look and feel of the audiences. The Ballet always attracts lots and lots of little girls with their parents and friends, even at the evening performances. I saw barely a handful of children at the Opera. Are there scads of kids who dream of being opera stars? I'm not seeing them. Only a few of those little girls will take classes with serious professional ambitions, but in the meantime their parents are being introduced to ballet and that should help future audiences.

Both attract a substantial older audience, but the Opera audience seemed to be dressed much more formally (big night at a classy restaurant first, perhaps?). The Opera is only doing two programs a year (Rigoletto this month and Carmen in May), four performances each. The Ballet is doing four programs this year, typically for two weekends, although Nutcracker is solid programming for a month and they're adding a fifth program next year (a weekend of Dracula).

The Opera performance did start with a before-the-curtain announcement that they will do two programs each of the next two years, including Don Giovanni, Magic Flute, Aida, and the Scarlet Letter. Opera has never cultivated anything comparable to the Nutcracker as a money machine, which is yet another difference. (Do we have Balanchine to thank for pushing that in the 50s?)

I see plenty of efforts at both the ballet and opera to cultivate "young patrons" groups here and elsewhere. I have no idea if it's working, but it seems essential to long-term survival. Even art museums are nervous about the declining interest among younger patrons, as a NY Times article discussed recently:
http://www.nytimes.c...tml?src=me&_r=0


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