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S.D. Opera suffers layoffs, shortens season

The San Diego Opera has laid off eight employees and slashed one production from its 2010 season.

While the layoffs reportedly occurred this week, the upcoming season reduction from five operas to four has been known for some months, according to the opera’s general and artistic director, Ian Campbell.

"Arts and cultural organizations are not immune to the detrimental effects of the current economy,” said Campbell in a written statement. “Around the country opera companies, orchestras, theatres, arts museums and others have reduced their activities and consequently have had to reduce staff numbers as lessened productivity requires.”

Campbell reported that because of the 2010 production number decrease, fewer staff will be required and therefore, the eight reductions were made in departments across the board.

“San Diego Opera did all possible to avoid taking this step, and is probably the last major cultural organization in the city to take such action,” he said.

The director also admitted that until the economy improves substantially and the company’s productivity can return to past levels, the rehiring of laid-off employees and staff expansion are unlikely.

The opera’s 2010 season will premiere in January with “La boheme,” followed by “Nabucco,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “La traviata” playing sequentially each month through April. The San Diego company was founded in 1950, and Campbell took over as general and artistic director in 1983.

“San Diego Opera continues to be one of the most stable opera companies in the country with no debt,” said Campbell, “but with contributions less than usual, proactive steps have been taken to ensure a reliable future."

Send comments to jenna.long@sddt.com.

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