New push to save San Diego Opera - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New push to save San Diego Opera

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two meetings on the future of the San Diego Opera are scheduled to take place Thursday afternoon.

The company's Board of Directors is scheduled to meet at a La Jolla hotel. Supporters of keeping the embattled opera afloat will gather in a public meeting at 4:30 p.m. in the Copper Room of the City Hall complex in downtown San Diego.

The board last month voted to close the opera, citing an untenable financial condition. However, the decision has met with harsh criticism, and several board members are looking for a way to save the opera.

The most recent season concluded Sunday.

Nicolas Reveles, the opera's director of education who is organizing the meeting, has said nearly 50 full-time staff members, along with about 350 local musicians, singers and other tradespeople, depend on the opera season's five months of work.

A lawyer for more than 30 vocalists filed a lawsuit this week to compel the opera to submit to arbitration over their contracts. The opera's attorney has responded that arbitration is premature since the contracts have not been breached.

The opera has a nearly $7 million impact on the local economy, according to Reveles. The San Diego Symphony alone earned $1.4 million in revenue during this season, and the San Diego Civic Theatre made $800,000, he said.

The patron and donor base for opera companies are diminishing nationwide. Opera companies in New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Baltimore, San Antonio and Orange County have gone out of business recently, according to the San Diego Opera.

The Opera originated as the San Diego Opera Guild in 1950. The San Diego Opera Association was incorporated in 1965.

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