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The Financial Curtain Falls on the San Diego Opera

In a move that surprised many, the San Diego Opera announced it will cease operations after this season ends on April 14.

The reasons for shutting down the nearly 50-year old arts organization is “an insurmountable financial hurdle,” according to a statement.

“We had a choice of winding down with dignity and grace, making every effort to fulfill our financial obligations, or inevitably entering bankruptcy, as have several other opera companies,” said longtime CEO and Artistic Director Ian Campbell. “Our board voted today to take the first choice.”

While the local company, which had an annual budget of about $15 million, was ranked among the top 10 opera companies in the nation by Opera America, and produced well-regarded shows, it was unable to raise sufficient funds from wealthy donors, and find enough patrons here.

Other opera companies that have also recently bit the dust are New York City Opera (not to be confused with the Metropolitan Opera), Opera Boston, Opera Cleveland, Baltimore Opera, San Antonio Opera, and closer to home, both Lyric Opera San Diego and Opera Pacific in Orange County.

The San Diego Opera plans to stage one performance of Verdi’s Requiem March 20, and four performances of Massenet’s Don Quixote April 5, 8, 11 and 13 before pulling down the curtain for good.