Opera In Trouble
We've been watching trouble brewing in the opera world for a few months now as some companies have closed and others have scaled back elaborate productions. A recent piece on NPR's "All Things Considered" indicated that the problem is widespread partly because opera is one of the most expensive performing arts. Marc Scorca, the president and CEO of OPERA America, says many opera companies started making cuts as soon as last October. Even New York's Metropolitan Opera, the big daddy of the U.S. opera world, is trying to find ways to trim a budget said to top $280 million by postponing big ticket productions and instituting pay cuts. The Los Angeles Opera has also cut staff members and taken a quarter off its budget. While tickets sales for the pricey performances are still strong, it is the donations that are causing opera companies to feel the squeeze. One company that might not make it is the Baltimore Opera, which has debts of over $1 million. It declared bankruptcy last December and canceled the final two productions of the season. They are fighting to stay afloat but indications are that the company may not be able to regroup.