The county supes are naturally a little concerned about the last-minute nature of the loan. The authors of the Culture Monster blog posting, Mike Boehm and Garrett Therolf, note that L.A. Opera's most recent tax return, for the year ending June 30, 2008 (that's 18 months ago), showed serious signs of distress: the company's board of directors provided more than $19 million in interest-free loans, of which $5 million has been forgiven, and ticket sales of $18.2 million covered way less than 50% of the annual budget of $55.6 million.
Even if you wish his programming were less middle-of-the-road, it's almost impossible to imagine the fiscally-conservative Gockley letting San Francisco Opera get into this kind of difficulty. Thank goodness.
Update: Mark Swed discusses the future of the Ring cycle and the opera here, not saying much about how this mess happened.
Further Update: Brian at Out West Arts has interesting comments about the loan.
More Updates: Reportage by Boehm and Theolf here. Short article by Dan Wakin in the Times here. The head-banging line from the LA Times story:
The company had run short on cash, Rountree said, partly because "there was a failure to fully appreciate that they needed to put out $20 million of the $32 million for the 'Ring' Cycle two years in advance."