Now that the San Diego Opera has safely passed the $2 million crowdfunding mark, the question is, will there be a 2015 season, and if so, when will it be announced?
After 13 of its board members resigned, the new board of the San Diego Opera, which was slated to close April 29, voted to extend a fundraising deadline until today, May 19. The troubled opera company has been trying to find ways to see its 50th season after the previous board voted to shutter it due to a lack of funds. It set a crowdfunding goal of $1 million, needed by May 19, which it reached 10 days early. The opera was also buttressed by a separate $1 million donation from Carol Lazier, the new board president.
Ticket sales have been in decline for years, though a matinee performance of “Don Quixote” last month was sold out, driven by fear that it could be the company’s last. Ian Campbell, the opera’s general and artistic director, has officially left the company. Campbell and his ex-wife, Ann Spira Campbell, who is the company’s deputy general director, were put on paid leave last month. The Campbells were part of the faction who thought it would be better for the company to close now, while it still had money to pay its creditors.
Whatever the future of the company is, it will be vastly different from the days when the opera was flush; Lazier told the Los Angeles Times that a goal of four mainstage shows per season was no longer realistic. The company is aiming to raise $6.5 million of its $10 million budget to mount a season. It expects the difference to come from earned income. Through donations to Save San Diego Opera and other sources, it has reached about two-thirds of its $6.5 million goal. Now the company is looking to close a roughly $2 million gap.
The opera posted a statement on its fundraising site explaining what would happen:
When you donate to the 2015 season, your donation will be held in a Special Escrow Account until we have reached our $1 million dollar goal and our 2015 Season is announced. If the 2015 season is not announced, or the $1 million dollar goal is not met by May 19, 2014, donations will not be released to the company and will be returned to the donor, minus an $8 handling fee, within 10 days. When our goal is reached and the 2015 season is announced, the amount in the escrow account will be transferred to the Opera and at that time the donations will become tax deductible and acknowledgement letters will be sent out. The creation of this account allows the Company to explore moving forward while protecting donor money and giving supporters the security that their gift is being applied to the future of San Diego Opera.