Where On Earth Is Opera San Diego?

I’m in NYC for day 1/3 for some top secret client work; as such, just some pointers today to make sure you’re paying attention to the unfolding saga that is the San Diego Opera (SDO).

The 4/6/2014 edition of the San Diego Union Times published an article by James Chute that reports that SDO General Director Ian Campbell, the man largely believed to be the driving force behind attempts to shut down the company, was greeted by jeers and hisses by audience members at a recent performance.

In another report from Chute on 4/4/2014, news of an existing SDO board member’s willingness to donate $1 million to keep the company going adds an intriguing wrinkle to Campbell’s initial statements that the company was no longer sustainable.

Simply put, we almost certainly haven’t seen the last of this story so do yourself a favor and begin catching up as it is almost assuredly going to be a case study in governance and executive leadership by the time it is all said and done.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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2 thoughts on “Where On Earth Is Opera San Diego?”

  1. In response to this, the MOA debacle, the League’s out of touch silence, the Establishment’s out-pricing itself, and so many other stories surrounding survival based on donation entitlement, I simply had to share my long-held thought on Twitter:

    In 2008 the USA crashed. Folk have been pushing Restart, and the machine is shutting down. Soon it will begin anew. #classicalmusic

    Those with strong endowments will remain untouched, much like MS Office. People like Emily Wozniak, 8th Blackbird, Sugar Vendil, Viswa Subbaraman, etc., etc. are helping with the restart process, and it’s an exciting future!

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