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San Diego Opera receives $1-million gift from board member

Less than a week after it announced that it was postponing the deadline for its closure, San Diego Opera said it has received a $1-million gift from a board member that is intended to help the company regroup and develop a new business model.  

Board member Carol Lazier said in a release sent by the company late Friday that she is giving the money "to encourage us to rescind the dissolution vote as soon as possible." 

San Diego Opera surprised many in March when it announced that it would cease operations after five decades due to financial difficulties stemming from weak box-office receipts and declining donations. The decision prompted a backlash from patrons as well as from the local and national arts communities. 

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The company initially said it would close following the run of Massenet's "Don Quixote" on April 13. But at a board meeting held on Monday, a dissident group of board members was successful in passing a two-week extension that would give them time to reorganize and raise money.

A motion to officially rescind the closure was discussed during the Monday meeting, according to two individuals with knowledge of the situation. But the motion was set aside in favor of the two-week postponement to April 29.

Lazier said that the $1-million gift money "is not being given to restart raising financial support... for the company as it exists today.  Raising public support can only come after we have a workable business plan."

In recent years, San Diego Opera has mounted four productions per season at its home at the Civic Theatre. "Having four full-scale productions is clearly unsustainable in our community," said Lazier. 

"Don Quixote," which is still officially the company's final production, is scheduled to begin performances on Saturday and will run through April 13.


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