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Subject: SF Opera season announcement tomorrow...
From: janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:00:24 -0800

text/plain (55 lines)

  without a hold-for-release copy in advance, which enables speculation such as the one I wrote last week:

San Francisco Opera will announce next Wednesday the 2018-2019 season, which will follow the June 12-July 1 "Ring" cycles (, but speculating about the future is OK any time.

Based on artists' publicity and "informed gossip," (also gathered at here are some guesses about the company's 96th season:

- "Cav/Pag" (Lianna Haroutounian)
- "Roberto Devereux"
- "Orlando Furioso"
- "Tosca"
- "Arabella" (Ellie Dehn)
- Jake Heggie's "It's a Wonderful Life"
- "Carmen"
- "Rusalka"

This will be the first season without Nicola Luisotti as SFO music director and General Director Matthew Shilvock says a "thorough search" for a successor may take as long as three years.

That and numerous recent departures from the staff may help a bit to control  the "Ring"-worsened deficit on what was a $77 million budget in Fiscal 2016 ( Will eight productions be possible? "Time will tell."

Among David Gockley's many virtues was his (relatively) full disclosure of financial matters, such as his clairvoyant statement four years ago (

Gockley presented a matrix for San Francisco Opera finances with some alarming figures for 1980, 2015, and 2022 (the centennial year):

Operating budget:
1980: $11 million
2015: $75m
2022: $92m
($11m is about $31m today)

1980: 165,000
2015: 93,000
2022: 80,000 estimated

Ticket sales providing percentage of budget:
1980: 58.7%
2015:32% (close to the current San Diego figure)
2022: 29%

Budgets grew over inflation rates, ticket sales slightly declined, contributions remained remarkably steady (annual support growing from $3.7m in 1980 to $40m projected for 2015, and the same figure for 2022), and Gockley had to act decisively to bring down an estimated budget of $106m for 2020 to $86m.

"There are structural problems we face as a company and some of the systemic issues facing the industry as a whole," Gockley said, "the slowly declining role of subscriptions, the difficulty of balancing budgets, the lack of bankable stars, the marginalization of the classical arts in education and the mass media, the plethora of competing entertainment forms and opportunities ... that compete for the time and attention of people who could be going to the opera."

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