SAN FRANCISCO (February 7, 2014)—The audited financial results for San Francisco Opera’s 2012-13 season (FY13) were announced today by San Francisco Opera Association President Keith Geeslin: a deficit of $811,915 on an operating budget of $68,707,049.
Total operating revenue for FY13 fell from $32,955,687 to $30,808,345, with income from ticket sales for FY13 at $19,785,866 compared to the season prior (FY12) at $24,302,997. The decline in earned income was caused in part by the elimination of one full opera from the Company’s subscription season. Contributions to the FY13 Annual Fund reflected a 4.4% increase over the previous year and hit a new Company record level of $37,086,789 in financial support from approximately 8,000 donors. At the close of FY13 on July 31, the Company’s endowment was valued at $147,754,431 reflecting an increase of 6.4% over the previous year’s balance of $138,822,387 as of July 31, 2012.
Mr. Geeslin commented: “At a time of considerable challenges for many arts and cultural organizations, San Francisco Opera remains committed to achieving the highest artistic standards in a fiscally responsible manner.  The board is especially grateful to our generous donors for their record levels of support last year.  We share their belief that having a great opera company makes San Francisco one of the best places in the world to live and visit."
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley said, “Without the remarkable efforts of our development department to raise a record amount of donations, the deficit would have been significantly higher. We will be challenged to maintain this level of annual giving as much as we will be in aggressively restoring ticket sales back to a comfortable 90%. Costs remain high despite the intensive Company-wide financial scrubbing we’ve done in recent years. We simply have to produce a more attractive product and find new ways to deliver and retain audiences. I’ve never experienced a more challenging time in our industry.”
San Francisco Opera’s 2012-13 season offered eight operas at the War Memorial Opera House including the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene; the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s award winning opera Moby-Dick, which was recorded in HD for a subsequent national broadcast on Great Performances and DVD/Blu-ray release; new co-productions of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann; in addition to presentations of Verdi’s Rigoletto, Wagner’s Lohengrin, Puccini’s Tosca, and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.  In cooperation with Cal Performances, San Francisco Opera commissioned composer Nolan Gasser and librettist Carey Harrison for a new family opera and presented the world premiere of The Secret Garden at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.

Some of the world’s leading singers, conductors and directors appeared at San Francisco’s historic War  Opera House including:  Nicole Cabell, Sasha Cooke, Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Angela Gheorghiu, Aleksandra Kurzak, Petra Lang, Camilla Nylund, Patricia Racette, and Albina Shagimauratova; William Burden, Stephen Costello, Mark Delavan, Roberto Frontali, Nathan Gunn, Brandon Jovanovich, Željko Lučić, Jay Hunter Morris, Eric Owens, Saimir Pirgu, Matthew Polenzani, Kristinn Sigmundsson, Andrea Silvestrelli, Marco Vinco, and Marco Vratogna; Vincent Boussard, Michael Christie, Giuseppe Finzi, Leonard Foglia, Riccardo Frizza, Nicola Luisotti, Kevin Newbury, Laurent Pelly, Daniel Slater, and Patrick Summers. All performances included the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Nicola Luisotti Music Director, Patrick Summers Principal Guest Conductor and Giuseppe Finzi Resident Conductor; and the San Francisco Opera Chorus, Ian Robertson Chorus Director and Fabrizio Corona Associate Chorus Master.

Other musical highlights of the season included popular and free al fresco concerts at the Stern Grove Festival featuring singers Leah Crocetto and Michael Fabiano led by Maestro Finzi; Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow with various stars of the fall season conducted by Nicola Luisotti; a live High Definition (HD) simulcast performance of Rigoletto from the Opera House to AT&T Park; a concert featuring the 2012 San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellows; three Schwabacher Debut Recitals with select San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellows and Merola Opera Program alumni; and a symphonic concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Maestro Luisotti and Italian piano soloist Giuseppe Albanese.  The season included a Company return to the Bay Area’s premiere Public Television station KQED with a public airing of four different opera performances hosted by celebrated mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade (Salome, Il Trittico, The Magic Flute and Otello) presented in HD; screenings of various company productions at local and regional cinemas and cultural arts centers; and a continuation of the successful San Francisco Opera International Radio Broadcast series of live recorded main stage operas heard locally on KDFC, nationwide via WFMT Radio and on select radio outlets in Asia reaching a combined virtual audience of over 3.8 million viewers and listeners.

In FY13, the Company’s 90th season, San Francisco Opera continued to offer innovative and meaningful education programs for Bay Area students, teachers, adults and families. A highlight was the Company’s Community Open House that attracted over 4,000 individuals and families to the Opera House for a close up look at behind-the-scenes activities, a working orchestra  and chorus rehearsal, screenings of the Opera’s DVD Carmen for Families, costume exhibitions, and musical excerpts performed live by the Adler Fellows. The San Francisco Opera Guild, in cooperation with Neiman Marcus, presented a bold fashion show fundraising evening with celebrity designer Jason Wu, in addition to producing the Company’s signature event of the social season, Opera Ball.

The FY13 audit was conducted by Armanino LLP and unanimously approved by the San Francisco Opera Executive Committee. Audited financial results are posted in PDF format here.