Chairwoman Karen Cohn of the San Diego Opera today (April 10) issued a statement that suggests there has been a complete turnaround in sentiment. But her statement about the pay of Ian and Ann Campbell is still an enigma.
"Every single one of us wants to save opera in San Diego," says Cohn, implying that it would be preferable to preserve the current San Diego Opera than start a new company. This comes after the board voted 33 to 1 to disband on March 19, then later voted overwhelmingly to extend the drop-dead date untill April 29.
Encouragingly, Cohn says the opera is creating a digital library at SDOpera.com, where key documents will allegedly be made available. She says she wants transparency. This comes after this week's announcement that a small coterie, including Cohn, the Campbells, and a handful of others, will make decisions, especially regarding the release of information.
She also repeated her earlier puzzling stance. To wit: "The board has been advised again and again by its lawyers that Ian Campbell and Ann Spira Campbell [Ian's ex-wife] will both leave the company's offices with no payments whatsoever if we close, and that whatever claims they have will be resolved through the liquidation process along with all of the other unsecured creditors." Cohn said earlier that the Campbells will get nothing if the company folds, but will get in line with other creditors. This is a contradictory statement.
In general, however, Cohn's turnabout, indicating a change in board sentiment, is good news for San Diego. The trouble is that until the Campbells' status is clarified, some may withhold donations to the current company.
A statement from Cohn, released earlier today, reads as follows:
First, every single one of us wants to save opera in San Diego. To be sure, there are disagreements about how to best accomplish this goal, but what is most important is that we all share this same goal. We are exploring every possible idea for creating an economically sustainable way to preserve the current Opera Company in some form. And if that proves to be impossible, we all stand ready to do whatever we can to help preserve opera in a new form for San Diego.
Second, no matter what decision is reached at the end of this process, we are determined that the reasons behind that decision are as publicly transparent as possible. That is why we are creating a Digital Library at SDopera.com/Library, where we will make available the key documents that bear on the future of opera in San Diego. We invite all interested members of the public and the media to explore this Library over the coming days as our process continues and as we provide more and more background material.
Third, we are also committed to answering the important questions being asked by the community. In particular, we want to put to rest the notion that somehow key Opera employees will benefit from the potential shutdown of the Company. The Board has been advised again and again by its lawyers that Ian Campbell and Ann Spira Campbell will both leave the Company's offices with no payments whatsoever if we close, and that whatever claims they have will be resolved through the liquidation process along with all of the other unsecured creditors. To provide assurances to those who are concerned about this issue, the Board is placing in the Digital Library a statement from the Board's lawyer that addresses this issue directly.
Finally, we pledge our commitment to complete this process for reviewing alternatives as soon as we possibly can, and to do so with completely open minds about what might be possible for the future of opera in San Diego. We will continue to update the community as the process moves forward.