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To save money, Sacramento Opera and Philharmonic will merge

In a sign of the times for small and mid-size classical music organizations, the Sacramento Opera and Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra will merge their operations this year in order to cope with a challenging financial environment.

The merger, which was reported in the Sacramento Bee, will create a new entity called the  Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance. Each organization will retain its own identity under the new umbrella group, Jane Hill, interim executive director for the orchestra, told the newspaper.

A number of small and mid-size orchestras and opera companies around the country are facing dire economic conditions. They include organizations in Louisville, Syracuse and Honolulu.  Some major groups have also been through tough times, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony.

The San Antonio Opera filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and Lyric Opera San Diego did the same in 2011.

The Sacramento Opera and Sacramento Philharmonic are expected to merge officially in July. The combined organization is expected to have an operating budget of $1.8 million, which is lower than the combined budgets of the two entities, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Both groups had faced declining donations and subscriptions in recent seasons. 

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