By Francisco Salazar ( | First Posted: Mar 20, 2014 12:41 AM EDT
Tags opera

(Photo : San Diego Opera)

The San Diego Opera House will close its doors after its 49th year.

The company has been known for attracting the greatest performers in the industry for a number of years.  The decision was made on Wednesday after the company's executive committee and Ian Campbell, its general and artistic director and CEO, concluded the company's only viable course forward was to cease operations. The opera's full board later voted on the decision which ended in a 33-1 vote.

Campbell said in a press statement, "We saw we faced an insurmountable financial hurdle going forward. We had a choice of winding down with dignity and grace, making every effort to fulfill our financial obligations, or inevitably entering bankruptcy, as have several other opera companies. Our board voted today to take the first choice."

The company has long operated with $15 million budget and the opera has had to raise a significant amount of money because tickets sales are not enough to cover the expenses to run a theater and a company. The ironic thing about the closure was that the San Diego Opera was known for its fund-raising strategies and success.

Campbell added "I think it's important to know that the board has been looking at this issue for more than three years. This is not a last-minute crisis. What we had to decide is do we sell the next season knowing that we might not be able to get through it."

For years the company had been able to balance the budgets out and the institution's audited financial statements from as recently as 2012 show it with total net assets of $16,423,469.

 Karen Cohn, chair of the San Diego Opera's board of directors, said, "After 28 consecutive years of balanced budgets, it was clear that we could not continue. In spite of excellent financial management, the Opera faced increasingly higher ticket-sale and fund-raising hurdles."

The opera currently has 117 employees on its roster and provides employment for a professional chorus and the San Diego Symphony.

San Diego is the latest troubled opera company. The Metropolitan Opera recently released its annual statement and it was revealed that the company had suffered its worst economic decline in years. Ticket sales plummeted as well as box office revenue.  In addition to that the New York City Opera also filed bankruptcy after suffering economic declines for a number of years. The company eventually closed after it failed to raise $7 million including $1 million in a failed kickstarter campaign. The company closed its doors in October with Turnage's recent opera "Anna Nicole."  

The San Diego Opera is currently presenting a highly acclaimed production of Verdi's "Un Ballo In Maschera" starring Piotr Beczala, Krassimira Stoyanova, Stephanie Blythe, and Kathleen Kim. The company will later present a sold out performance of Verdi's Requiem with Beczala, Stoyanova, veteran bass Ferrucio Furlanetto and Blythe. The final opera that will be performed at the theater will be Massanet's "Don Quixote" starring Furlanetto in the title role. The final performance will be done on April 13. 

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