The confused yet honorable Don Quixote wandering the Civic Center stage vanquishing windmills and shaming robbers served as a perfect metaphor for the final performance of the San Diego Opera. Woven around and through the April 13 performance were minimalist protests designed to express outrage and a desire to save the opera.
The community has responded in myriad ways to director Ian Campbell’s March 19 announcement that the opera would be closing for good after the final performance of Don Quixote.
Some have said it’s just a dying form of aristocratic entertainment — let it die. Others suggest that the San Diego art scene will be impoverished and ruefully refer to a new football stadium waiting in the wings.
But the main response has been anger at the million-dollar salaries and perks received by director Ian Campbell and his former wife Ann Spiro Campbell.
On Sunday, attendees were greeted by a solitary protester holding up a sign calling for Ian and Ann Campbell’s resignation.
At the end of the opera, the performers stepped back so the people who make it all happen behind the scenes — the set designers, choreographers, costume designers, musicians (many wearing “Save San Diego Opera” T-shirts) — could take the stage and the final curtain call.
As opera-goers exited the theater, they were offered chalk and asked to write on the pavement. Within minutes, the plaza was filled with colorful scrawls aimed at keeping the opera alive.
The crowd was also leafleted. The small red-and-white handbills passed out at the door announced a "town hall meeting” at 4:30, April 17, hosted by Nicolas Reveles, in the Copper Room of the San Diego Civic Concourse.