Despite 1 million deficit and layoffs Seattle Opera's 2013 Ring Cycle is well on trackHowever, the 2014 International Wagner Competition may not be able to go ahead.
Seattle Opera expects a significant shortfall for its just-ended season, which included 36 performances of five mainstage productions: "Porgy and Bess," "Carmen," "Attila,' "Orphée et Eurydice" and "Madama Butterfly'. In light of the deficit, the company, which has operated in the black for 18 of the past 19 seasons, will make several cuts over the next few seasons.
• The 2012/13 season will continue as announced.
• In the summer of 2013, the company will produce three cycles of Wagner's "Ring" cycle, as announced. Fundraising for this production is on track.
• Seattle Opera will reduce its 2013/14 season to three mainstage operas instead of the current five.
• For the summer of 2014, the company will substitute its International Wagner Competition for the previously announced production of "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg," one of the most expensive operas in the repertory. Seattle Opera will then present four mainstage operas for the 2014/15 season. In the immediate future the company will only produce opera during the summer when it is producing the "Ring."
• Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program will produce a concert with orchestra instead of a fully-produced opera in the upcoming (2012/13) season, and will go on hiatus for the 2013/14 season. In that season the company will focus on emerging singers in the Wagner repertoire by presenting its third International Wagner Competition. At the same time, the company will increase its emphasis on education and community engagement programs; assuming economic recovery and community support, the Young Artists Program may re-emerge in future seasons.
• Further reductions will include salary cuts, artist fee reductions and the elimination of four full-time staff positions. Two new positions will be added to focus on fundraising and major gifts.
Seattle Opera says that according to the U.S. Census, since 2008 the number of opera performances nationwide has decreased 11%. A statement by the company lists the factors leading to the anticipated shortfall: company's fiscal year end.
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