California attorney general to audit San Diego Opera

San Diego Opera patrons gather at the Civic Theatre in downtown San Diego before an April performance of "Don Quixote."
(David Ng / Los Angeles Times)

The office of the California attorney general is launching an audit of San Diego Opera, the company said on Tuesday, a day after the company announced it has reversed its decision to close and will have a 2015 season.

Opera officials said they received word about the audit this week and have been asked to turn over certain records and to retain all existing documents.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said he could neither confirm nor deny the audit. Kamala Harris has served as California’s attorney general since 2011.

“We welcome the opportunity to open our records to Kamala Harris’s office, as doing so will assure the public of our promise of transparency and good governance,” said Keith Fisher, the opera’s chief operating officer, in a statement.


Earlier this month, San Diego Opera officially severed ties with Ian Campbell, its longtime artistic and general director. The company has declined to discuss Campbell’s departure except to say that it has tried to reach an amicable agreement with him and his ex-wife, Ann Spira Campbell, who was the opera’s deputy general director.

Ian Campbell was a key proponent of closing down the opera company; in the March announcement, he cited declining ticket sales and weak donations.

His annual salary has hovered around $500,000 in recent years.

Opera supporters have criticized the earlier board decision to pull the plug, saying it was unexpected and hasty. They also characterized Campbell’s salary as being high for a company experiencing financial troubles.