Last night I heard the news from all my friends at San Diego Opera. I was so stunned and shocked to hear it. I could not believe what I was reading on Facebook. Every one of my dear friends and past co-workers were stating the same sad and shocking news, that after 49 years San Diego Opera will permanently turn off the lights on its Grand Operatic stage.
In my disbelief, I started to scour the internet for news reports, texting all my dear friends in San Diego and just hunting for an explanation or for a glimmer of hope. Maybe this is a ploy to get people to understand how important the Operatic Art form is to the community and we need to help out. Maybe it really is the death of an “A” house in the USA. Maybe this is a really bad joke being played out. But no… it’s a statement of what is happening all around us here in the USA. An article in the NY Times on the closing of the company said, “Opera companies cannot survive on ticket revenues alone; in the United States they rely on philanthropy, and in Europe they often receive large subsidies from government.”
After being a part of this wonderful company for 4 years, I can say I am brought to tears at this news. All the amazing talent in San Diego gathering together to make the most amazing form of art is going to have to disband – to cease creating moving performances for the people of southern California. In a statement from the General Director of the company, Ian Campbell, he said “Although it is a sad day for San Diego culturally, we have to thank everyone who supported us for nearly 50 years. It is better to go out with dignity, on a high note with heads held high than to slip into the night, leaving creditors and community in the lurch.”
Besides the artistic void, which may not be immediately noticed by everyone in the community, there’s the financial ripple effect which won’t be fully felt for some time – it begins with the lost wages of hundreds of employees, musicians and production staff. Then there’s the loss of revenue for the CivicCenter, parking services, restaurants, hotels and other tourism revenue.
I am so sad that another beautiful company is leaving the lime light.
Good-bye San Diego Opera, we will always love you and miss you.