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Seattle Opera expects to go into the red

Post by Craig Sailor / The News Tribune on June 27, 2012 at 9:03 am |
June 27, 2012 9:03 am

Seattle Opera announced on Tuesday evening it is anticipating a shortfall for its 2011-2012 season. In response it is retooling for a leaner future.

In the announcement SO said it will reduce its five opera season to a four opera season in 2014. And it will replace “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” with its International Wagner Competition in the summer of 2014. The 2012-2013 season will stay as previously announced.

The 2011-2012 season included 36 performances of five mainstage productions (“Porgy and Bess,” “Carmen,” “Attila,” “Orphée et Eurydice,” and “Madama Butterfly”). SO states that it has operated without a deficit for 18 of the past 19 seasons and “has been working on alternative season models with its Board, in response to the difficult economy.”

Here’s more from the press release:

· In the summer of 2013, the company will produce three cycles of the Ring, as announced. Fundraising for this production is on track.

· Seattle Opera will produce a subscription series of three mainstage operas during the 2013/14 season. The company has opted for maintaining its artistic standards but offering fewer productions and performances, instead of diluting the high quality that Seattle Opera attendees have come to expect.

· For the summer of 2014, Seattle Opera will present its popular International Wagner Competition instead of the previously announced (6/13/2011) production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, one of the most expensive grand operas in the repertory. Seattle Opera will then present four mainstage operas for the 2014/15 season. In the immediate future the company will only produce opera during the summer when it is producing the Ring.

· Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program, currently in its 14th season, will produce a concert with orchestra instead of a fully-produced opera in the upcoming (2012/13) season, and will go on hiatus for the 2013/14 season. In that season the company will focus on emerging singers in the Wagner repertoire by presenting its third International Wagner Competition. At the same time, the company will increase its emphasis on education and community engagement programs; assuming economic recovery and community support, the Young Artists Program may re-emerge in future seasons.

· Operational reductions include leadership salary cuts, artist fee reductions, and the elimination of a net of four full-time staff positions (two new positions will be added to focus on fundraising and major gifts).

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