Mystery score

Mystery score

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Definitely Falling

No sooner did I post my responses to Ivan Katz's article on the Met and San Francisco Opera than a press releases about SFO's audited financial statements appeared in my inbox. Here are the important points, with the ellipses denoting deleted paragraphs:
San Francisco Opera Association President George Hume today announced the Company concluded Fiscal Year 2009-10 (FY 10) with a deficit of $1,553,608 on an annual operating budget of $65,251,246..... 
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, the San Francisco Opera Board of Directors and the Company’s executive administration provided strong and vigilant fiscal leadership in this time of economic challenges resulting in an overall decrease of 3.6% in operating expenses. Despite these very substantial savings, the deficit reflects a decline in the Company’s operating revenue from $34,043,999 in FY 09 to $27,113,297 in FY 10, with income from ticket sales for the main season repertory falling from more than $24,000,000 in FY 09 to $18,656,120 in FY 10. Contributions to the annual fund were $36,334,341 from 9,000 generous donors....

As the national economy continues to plunge the arts into turmoil, the Opera’s executive staff and board are taking significant and meaningful steps to address the Company’s operational structure and financial obligations. The core issues include the modernization of the War Memorial Opera House’s antiquated backstage production capabilities; the consolidation of the Company’s disparate administrative, rehearsal, costume and scenic functions onto the War Memorial campus; a re-examination of the amount of opera repertory to be presented each season; a reorganization of the Company’s operating business model and its crippling fixed costs that is financially out of balance with the new economic realities; and the necessity to establish a more meaningful endowment that is four times the size of the Company’s operating budget.
What we can expect in the future: a shorter season, a switch to a stagione system from the current repertory system, an emphasis on modular sets and projections, and an attempt to reduce what union members get paid (that'll be the chorus, orchestra, stage crew, costumers, etc.). It is not going to be pretty, and I wonder what will happen to the company and its artistic standards.

3 comments:

John Marcher said...

mmmm. told ya so :o

Lisa Hirsch said...

Let me send you the press release, because there's an important point: they expected a deficit of about this size. It is good that they're making accurate projections.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Let me send you the press release, because there's an important point: they expected a deficit of about this size. It is good that they're making accurate projections.