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Last night at the conclusion of San Diego Opera’s orchestral rehearsal for Verdi’s Requiem, Gerry Whitney was honored. Gerry has been with San Diego Opera for 43 years and has been in a ridiculous number of productions. The company is 49 -years-old. It was a moment of community and a recognition of the longevity of music.

Today the U-T reported that the April 13th performance of Don Quixote will be the final performance of San Diego Opera. The company plans to shut down all operations by June 30th of this year.

Appropriately, this announcement comes the day before the sold-out concert of Verdi's great mass for the dead.

The was only one dissenting vote from the 34 members of the board according the U-T story.

Some chorus members recalled last season when Ian Campbell came into chorus rehearsal to assure everyone that there were challenges coming but that there was nothing to worry about. Everyone began to worry.

Lyric Opera San Diego has disappeared, Orchestra Nova has disappeared. Now San Diego Opera is on the way out.

Go Chargers?

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dwbat March 19, 2014 @ 9:15 p.m.

It's no biggie for most of us. Times and tastes change. There were probably tears when vaudeville faded away. But it had a good run too. Rich benefactors move on to other areas, such as permanent art museums (as opposed to putting on expensive performances which are transitory). Maybe a Cirque du Soleil show can do a regular gig at the Civic?


Scott Marks March 19, 2014 @ 9:46 p.m.

With Copley gone it was just a matter of time. And at $280 a pop for the best seats in the house, it's no wonder the canned operas currently showing in movie theatres are doing so well.


dwbat March 19, 2014 @ 10:14 p.m.

I heard San Diego's last Packard dealer is finally closing down too. Oh, the humanity! And I can't find an electronics store that stocks the Sylvania TV with Halolight either (mine finally gave up the ghost). As Turko says, "It ain't right."


FatCatSegat March 19, 2014 @ 10:04 p.m.

When the fine arts suffer, our culture suffers. Its a shame that our priorities and values have shifted so drastically in such a relatively short amount of time. Sure, there are other interests that distract us from our day to day lives but they have no real value. Okay, I'm a sports fan but I understand its just a game that benefits only a few. I love the fine arts in all her forms and believe we are the worse for it. So I am deeply saddened at this turn of events. So where am I to take the Grandkids in their tuxedos and formal gowns now?


Joaquin_de_la_Mesa March 19, 2014 @ 11:34 p.m.

I have mixed feelings about this. I love Opera, and attend at least one show almost every year. But the paradigm of the Big Time Opera Company -- non-local singers making thousands per performance, full orchestra, huge choruses, huge expensive sets, huge theaters, 18th floor penthouse offices, $400,000 executive salaries -- may be outmoded.

Maybe it's time for opera to downsize, get back to its roots, become more local and less… corporate, for lack of a better word.

What do you think, Mr. Harris?


Garrett Harris March 20, 2014 @ 10:51 a.m.

Instead of paying a premium AND per diem for international artists on each and every role, be they large or small, use local singers who will cost less.


Garrett Harris March 20, 2014 @ 12:22 a.m.

Opera is over 400 years old. It looks upon our feeble efforts--to promote it or deride it--as inconsequential. So long as anyone values truth, opera will accompany us.


eastlaker March 21, 2014 @ 11:52 a.m.

One of the problems is that with little to no exposure, young people who have the unusual and great voices that are operatic will not have the opportunity to develop their voices.

They may never even recognize that they have a voice of that type. Similar to someone with magnificent athletic potential who never moves around enough to realize they are good at a particular game or position in a game.

Schools are so very important to encourage and identify talents of all sorts, and that is why it is of the utmost importance that people in the schools, in leadership positions, are there for the right reasons--to educate upcoming generations, to expose them to the wider world, to cultural events, options and venues for self-expression.

Which is why this society truly needs the guardians and watchdogs. Supporting civilization doesn't happen by accident. Sadly, many people today seem to be unaware of that. We all need to pitch in.


danfogel March 20, 2014 @ 11:05 a.m.

Several years ago, around 2002 or so, we were in Italy. One of the things my wife wanted to do was to see an opera. One of the things we learned while we were there is that at least in Italy, which apparently is where it all started, opera is heavily subsidised by the government. Several years ago, the Met began broadcasting live HD video transmissions to movie theatres around the world. I understand that several of the major European housed have started doing the same. Maybe that's future of opera.


Joaquin_de_la_Mesa March 20, 2014 @ 1:01 p.m.

@Dan, yes, Mr. Marks referenced the movie theater operas above. And it is a way to go. Subsidization in NOT a good idea in the long run. Yes, Italy has been doing it, and Italy is bankrupt, so…. Art should stand on its own feet.


Scott Marks March 20, 2014 @ 3:22 p.m.

The only opera I ever saw is the one with The Marx Bros.


dwbat March 20, 2014 @ 4:41 p.m.

Yes, Groucho, Karl and Richard really had a wild romp in that movie.


Joaquin_de_la_Mesa March 20, 2014 @ 1:12 p.m.

I think a distinction has to be made in this conversation between opera and Big Time Grand Opera. Opera is an art form which still draws people. The SDO sold out (or nearly sold out) four shows of Pagliacci earlier this year. That's 12,000 people coming to see an 100+ year-old show. People still love opera.

What's dying, I think, is Grand Opera --- opera as a raison d'être for a big, almost corporate company with big executive salaries, dozens of employees, expensive out-of-town singers, and all of these things.

Maybe in New York that idea can survive. Not in San Diego.


Psycholizard March 20, 2014 @ 2:27 p.m.

This really smells of cashing in endowments and nice severance packages. This town is so stupid.


dwbat March 20, 2014 @ 9:38 p.m.

I loved what the opera company head cheese had to say on TV when asked about his $500,000+ salary. He said he filled TWO positions: creative director AND general director! Many people wear more than one hat on the job, but they don't get extra pay for it. He was making more salary than the President gets. What an egomaniacal oaf. And his wife was making more than $280,000 a year. Pretty good scheme they had going, at least for THEM.


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