San Diego Opera to offer 50th anniversary season - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Opera to offer 50th anniversary season

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two months to the day after the San Diego Opera Board of Directors voted to cease operations, the company announced Monday it will put on a 50th anniversary season.

A unanimous vote to rescind the March 19 decision to shut down was made Friday, but the board decided to wait until Monday to make the announcement because of the wildfires in the North County, board President Carol Lazier said.

She said the opera has raised $4.5 million, including more than $2.1 million in an Internet-based crowdfunding campaign.

"These last two months have been incredibly difficult for all of us, but with commitment and leadership, we are emerging as a stronger company for the community," Lazier said.

The makeup of the board has changed significantly since March, when opera officials lamented insurmountable financial difficulties for the closure vote. The company has subsequently cut ties with CEO Ian Campbell and several board members.

Lazier, a philanthropist who lives in Poway, donated $1 million to keep the company afloat. She said the company will continue a fundraising campaign, with a goal of $2 million more.

The company also will need to net around $3.5 million in ticket sales and other proceeds next season to make ends meet, according to spokesman Edward Wilensky.

The season will open Jan. 24 with "La boheme," followed by "Don Giovanni" and "Nixon in China." Gala concerts will close the series of performances in April 2015.

"This isn't just for 2015," Lazier said. "We're looking for the company to survive many years into the future."

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.

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

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