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Indianapolis Opera Struggles

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Indianapolis Business Journal reports on IBJ.com: "The Indianapolis Opera plans to cancel the fourth and final show of its season amid ongoing financial issues, multiple sources close to the organization said Tuesday morning. ... The Indianapolis Opera finished its 2011-12 fiscal year about $123,000 in the black, according to the most recently available public IRS records for the group. The year finished with about $2.08 million in expenses and $1.96 million in expenses."

The Flying Dutchman was the first production of the 2013-2014 Indianapolis Opera. The final planned work, Albert Herring, is being cancelled, according to a report from IBJ.com. - DENIS RYAN KELLY JR
  • Denis Ryan Kelly Jr
  • The Flying Dutchman was the first production of the 2013-2014 Indianapolis Opera. The final planned work, Albert Herring, is being cancelled, according to a report from IBJ.com.

The decision to cancel the remainder of their current season, immediately following the production of The Girl of the Golden West this past weekend, primarily impacts one production. Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring had been scheduled for April 25 to May 4 in what would have been its Indianapolis Opera premiere. The report does not indicate whether the group's community outreach efforts will go on as planned.

Closures and season-ending announcements are becoming a regular part of arts news around the country, particularly with opera companies. Last week, the San Diego Opera announced its closure, though why the apparently financially sound organization had to close appears to be somewhat of a mystery. The New York City Opera, seven decades old, announced its closure in Oct. 2013. Mismanagement of the group's endowment may have been to blame. Opera Cleveland, itself created in a merger between two other companies facing economic difficulties, suspended programming in 2010. The general trend has at least one singer asking if American opera is "circling the toilet."

The Indianapolis Opera's next steps are unclear. But, as the organization and Indianapolis' cultural community considers its future, new models are likely to emerge as possibilities. The Young Artist Program at Indianapolis Opera offers one possibility. In other cities, orchestras are offering web-based and live performances that incorporate opera, either with featured soloists or with stripped-down productions.

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