At this time, there are claims against Mr. Campbell for creating a hostile work environment towards his staff. And, honestly, it is sickening to see Mr. Bauder placate to the Board or the Campbells, because they alone are responsible for the decline in sales and the decision to close.
Some of the board members reached out to staff to get their perspective, yet none of that is coming out. A majority of the staff have no confidence in the Campbells’ leadership or vision – because, quite simply, there is none. They have both enjoyed a very fat salary and wonderful benefits, but have provided nothing worthy of what they have earned. The mantra of “we tried that and it didn’t work” killed any level of creativity or excitement any staff member had.
Further, the Campbells have worked very hard to blame some of their staff for decisions they personally made – which is where I have had to draw the line. If you do not like the ideas or do not want to try something new or different, then stand by that. But, to use these weak excuses, try to be the victim, or blame staff who only do what leadership tells them to do (there is no creative license at all) is a true testament of their leadership.
It is well known the economy plays a role. As such, it takes strong and creative vision to come up with new ways to remain alive, vibrant, and engaging to the community as a whole – not just the rich that line your pocket and feed your ego. Traditional opera is not a huge draw in this day and age, which is where Ian and Ann Campbell are comfortable and experienced. They are not willing to step out of their comfort zone and risk failure, which was the final curtain call anyway.
The real reason the opera is closing is for self-preservation. For Ms. Cohn to deny that as a key reason is dishonest. And, to defend the huge salary for both Ian and Ann with the extravagant benefits is ridiculous. If these people loved the opera so much, why not take a pay cut or take away the free cars and travel until it gets back on its feet? Why the Board simply did not vote to replace the Campbells, work to figure out ways to financially restructure, and build again from the ground up is a pressing question. The quick decision to close is due to the Campbells working to silence the ever-growing dissenters and work to take their money and run. The arrogance, greed, and ego of the opera leadership and Board is the core issue. Why not allow another opera director a chance to see what can be done or try to recreate like in Dallas? Why not listen to the one dissenter – that board member may have some ideas!
I am disappointed that the truth is getting swept under the rug. These articles work to generate sympathy for the Campbells, portray them as the victims when all of this is their own doing and the real victims are the staff, the artists, tourists, and the City of San Diego. How about we as the City of San Diego request a new artistic director and new general manager (at a reasonable salary and benefits) who appreciates the arts, and see if can be turned around? Compensate them if they generate revenue and are successful, thriving, and alive.
Now I read that one of the board members is trying to start a new opera. Where was he and where was his voice when these ideas needed to be pushed forth? Or is it his attempt to gain the headlines and feed his ego as well? It is not the opera or the arts that are dying but those that are so greedy and arrogant that think only “they” can make it a success. Such is the culture of the country — the wealthy want all the credit of success; but bail, blame, or beg for help when they fail miserably. Time for them to enjoy their money and let those that actually are willing to roll up their sleeves, be a part of the solution, and contribute in a honest, meaningful way and without the ego.