San Diego Opera extends deadline for closing down after board exodus

San Diego Opera extends deadline for closing down after board exodus
San Diego Opera patrons gather at the Civic Theatre before a recent performance of "Don Quixote." (David Ng / Los Angeles Times)

San Diego Opera set a new deadline of May 19 to obtain new funding or close down after the resignation Thursday of 13 members of its board of directors, including President Karen Cohn.

The new deadline will give the reconstituted board time to raise money to keep the company alive -- though what form it might take is uncertain.

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Under discussion at Thursday's meeting was a motion that stated in part that "additional information has come to the attention of the board regarding the prospects of new funding."

Ian Campbell, the opera's embattled general and artistic director, is still officially the company's leader. Campbell has been criticized for his role in advocating the shutdown.

Cohn walked out of the gathering, which lasted more than four hours. A dozen others also resigned. The opera's board previously numbered close to 60 members.

Cohn had been a proponent of closing the company and had repeatedly cited significant financial obstacles to the opera's survival.

The previous deadline for closure was April 29.

Carol Lazier, the new acting board president, said in a statement on Friday that she was "deeply encouraged" by public support for the opera.

"We have a devoted staff, an energized association and a board newly focused on finding novel and fiscally responsible ways to present great opera to the city of San Diego," she said.

Lazier is donating $1 million to help the company remain afloat.

The company said it was being assisted in its efforts by Opera America, the New York-based nonprofit organization that supports opera and other musical arts around the country.

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