Seattle Opera announces shortfall, cutbacks in future seasons
The Seattle Opera announced Tuesday night that it expects a shortfall of $1 million for the 2011-12 season, and cuts are on the way for staff, salaries and programming for future seasons. The 2012-13 season will not be affected.
Add Seattle Opera to the list of local arts organizations hit by the flagging economy.
The opera announced Tuesday night that it expects a shortfall of $1 million for the 2011-12 season, and cuts are on the way for staff, salaries and future programming. The opera's board will look at final 2011-12 budget figures at its annual meeting later this summer after the company's fiscal year ends. Seattle Opera's overall budget for the 2010-11 season was $21.4 million.
The 2012-13 season, which opens in August with Puccini's "Turandot," will not be affected, nor will the highly anticipated "Ring" cycle, opening on Aug. 4, 2013.
"Given the economic situation, and our need to responsibly steward the money contributed by our community of donors and ticket-buyers, we are making some changes to our long-range plans," Seattle Opera general director Speight Jenkins said in a news release. "When the financial situation improves, we will move as quickly as possible to restore what we have at this time either eliminated or put on hold."
Budget-trimming measures are planned both on stage and behind the scenes. The opera plans cuts in leadership salaries, reductions in artists' fees and elimination of the equivalent of four positions. Two new positions will be added, however, for fundraising and major gifts.
Other planned changes:
• Producing three, rather than four, mainstage productions in 2013-14. (In seasons that include "Ring" performances, the company produces four mainstage operas instead of its customary five.)
• Producing four mainstage productions in 2014-15, instead of five.
• Presenting the International Wagner Competition in summer 2014 instead of the previously announced — and expensive to mount — production of Wagner's "Der Meistersinger von Nürnberg."
• Presenting a concert with orchestra instead of a fully produced opera by the Young Artists Program (YAP) in 2012-13, and putting the YAP on hiatus in 2013-14.