4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
JohnBurtPolhamus's avatar

JohnBurtPolhamus

There was a front-page article in today's Mill that actually came across as a fairly good effort to report the events. The behavior of Karen Cohn and Wilson is hard to fathom. I'd expect them to be happy to leave the board under the circumstances. They both could claim that their efforts and votes were "in the best interests" of the opera, and then graciously relinquish their seats to members who had other ideas. So, why are they so wedded to the notion of dissolution? My take is that both have some actions and votes that cannot be justified to others. And the place to start with that is the compensation owed to Ian and Ann that would continue after the shut down. There's a lot more here than has so far been shared within and without the board and membership. I predict that we will learn much more in coming weeks, and that some people will (or should be) highly embarrassed when the actual situation is revealed.

April 18, 2014

Visduh: It is my understanding that Faye Wilson is responsible for the outrageous pay of the Campbells. She apparently looked the other way on the nepotism factor, and on the question of whether the opera was de facto picking up Ian's alimony payments when she got that big contract in 2013.

This information that I posted shows that Wilson, Ian, and Ann had discussed the Campbells' extremely generous post-closedown compensation packages before the March 11 meeting at which a few insiders discussed how they would sell their dissolution idea to the board on March 19. Obviously, the three of them were sensitive on that topic, and every pronouncement by the insiders since then has radiated anxiety about an embarrassment of riches.

Yes, I believe more will come out. It may have to be forced out through a lawsuit. Best, Don Bauder

April 18, 2014

If you read this story about the SDO (published in the U-T just a couple of months before Ian Campbell announced the opera was to close) you would never have guessed there were any financial problems... Ian Campbell "spoke briefly about San Diego Opera’s 50th anniversary year (coming in 2015), and thanked the Diamond Circle Producers, patrons who make the exceptionally generous donations essential to ensuring the organization’s continued artistic excellence."

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/Jan/12/treat-for-opera-patrons/

April 18, 2014

Ponzi: Yes, the problems were really not mentioned widely. Only the few in the inner circle knew (or thought they knew.) So the opera was living a lie -- not only to San Diegans, but to its own employees and most board members.

The question is when the insiders concluded that the opera had to be killed. Was it just before the March 19 meeting? Doubtful. As I reported earlier, there was a committee of board members and the then-president who came up with many ideas for addressing the problems. But, according to several interviews I have had, Ian and Faye Wilson decided that this committee should be folded into the executive committee. That effectively killed any problem-solving. The president was told she should resign, and did so. I have tried to get her to talk unsuccessfully. This suggests the plan to kill the opera was in the works for some time.

Oh yes. About that U-T story. Puccini did not write "Pagliacci." Leoncavallo did. But of his works, only "Pagliacci" hit the big time. Puccini hit the big time many times. Best, Don Bauder

April 18, 2014

Maybe the opera fell victim to a Navajo skin walker.

April 18, 2014

Must admit when first I glanced at this headline, I read it as "Opera operative advised no discussion of fat chicks"...thinking, well, Don is really going colloquial, and playing on the old "it ain't over..." saw.

Well, it looks like it ain't over.

And good for that. I do hope we find out exactly what has been behind all the shape-shifting.

April 18, 2014

FABIANI OUT AT OPERA. According to excellent information, Mark Fabiani, who briefly served as an opera public relations strategist on a pro bono basis, is now out. Board members complained that Fabiani came aboard without board consultation. Also, some resented a flack for the Chargers, pushing for a taxpayer-financed stadium, being in a position of power at an opera company.

Lisa Cohen, a former associate of Fabiani, was handling media inquiries for a short time. She is also out. It was no secret that Fabiani and Cohen worked for the Campbells, Wilson, and others in the tight circle at the top. Now that the board leans in favor of rescuing the opera, instead of slaying it, Fabiani and Cohen were not wanted.

The board has extended the shutdown date to at least May 19. It is not clear if Fabiani and Cohen will continue to work for the Campbell coterie at the top. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2014

eastlaker: They obviously entered into planned deception in so many areas -- particularly not telling the staff, many of the board members, and, of course, the public. According to one source, the insiders deliberately did not tell the board that there would be a dissolution vote March 19 so that the staff would not find out. I believe there was another reason: they only wanted the board members who were in their pockets to show up at the meeting that day. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2014

Murphyjunk: Right you are. Even hedge fund operators who rake in a billion dollars a year think they are underpaid. In their final half dozen years, the Campbells clearly did not do their jobs. But even before that when they were doing an excellent job, they were overpaid. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2014

Last night I attended the Minnesota Opera at the Ordway Center; they have put together a very unique production of "The Magic Flute", done in German Expressionist style with a touch of Edward Gorey and the flying monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz". Animation is projected onto the stage, with various doors opening at various levels and some action still taking place on the stage in front of the flat backdrop with doors.

I was struck by several things. To begin, the audience was a much younger group than is seen in San Diego. Maybe that was because the production had the animation component which served to fill in some story elements so that the whole thing was a bit easier to follow. Still, I did hear one young man say when walking out, "I was lost...who is Isis?" And his companion started to explain Egyptian gods but not really getting to why they would figure in this plot.

There was a pre-opera talk that was excellent: a lively speaker who was also fantastic on the piano, explaining some of what was behind the story and the music of "The Magic Flute". The back-up singer for Poppagano sang the 'suicide' song, just after we had heard how Mozart had amazingly been able to write this work while his life and health were in terrible shape. Of course I am only clumsily putting down what was expressed very well.

It was a very lively night, the performances were strong, although the Queen of the Night had some problems in a few places.

My opinion is that the lamenting of opera's decline needs to come to an end. We need more arts and music in schools, so all children can be exposed to what is out there. Opera shouldn't be merely or mostly for the evening gown and tux crowd. Everyone benefits from hearing these voices!

Perhaps some of you haven't heard the story of Gustavo Romero, pianist. When he was in elementary school in Chula Vista, in maybe 2nd grade, he heard a piano being played in the room next to his. He was transfixed, needed to know more, asked and asked to get the chance to play, and the school figured out a way. He showed so much talent, that he and his family ended up getting sponsorship and moving (I think) to LaJolla, where he had the opportunity for first-rate training and development. He is now a concert pianist and professor of music at a school in Texas.

April 19, 2014

eastlaker: Of course, Magic Flute is an opera that attracts young people -- very young people. Some companies put on special Magic Flutes for children. The Minnesota production sounds enchanting. It is a beautiful opera -- Mozart's second best, behind Marriage of Figaro. (My opinion, of course.)

Yes, the Gustavo Romero story is quite heartening. He is an international pianist who has played with the San Diego Symphony. Best, Don Bauder

April 19, 2014

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close