Release date: 2/2/2010

San Francisco Opera Announces Audited Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2008-09; Company Reports Balanced Budget

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SAN FRANCISCO (February 2, 2010)—San Francisco Opera Association President George Hume today announced the Company concluded Fiscal Year 2009 (2008-09 Season) with a balanced budget and operating income of $416,032 on an annual operating budget of $67,806,615. During the 2008-09 Season, San Francisco Opera presented 89 performances of eleven operas, multiple concerts, recitals, family performances and various community engagement activities to an audience of more than 293,853 individuals both inside and beyond the footlights of the historic War Memorial Opera House.
 
Vigilant leadership by San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley andthe San Francisco Opera board of directors, and a mid-season overall decrease of 6.5% in operating expenses added to the positive financial results. Operating revenue grew from $33,790,223 to $34,043,999 with income from ticket sales for the main season surpassing $24,000,000. Contributions to the annual fund were $34,178,648 from nearly 9,000 generous donors. Leading the Company’s benevolent supporters were Company Season Sponsors Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Franklin and Catherine Johnson, Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield and Bernard and Barbro Osher. Wells Fargo was the season sponsor along with corporate partners United Airlines and Chevron.  San Francisco Opera was funded, in part, by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.
 
The FY 2009 audit was conducted by Burr, Pilger & Mayer LLP and unanimously approved by the San Francisco Opera Executive Committee on January 14, 2010. Audited financial results are posted in the “Finance and Governance” section of the Company’s website, www.sfopera.com.
 
“It gives me great pleasure to announce the positive financial results of the FY ’09 audited report,” said George Hume. “They are due in large part to the staff’s efforts to reduce expenses in the face of the economic crisis, combined with excellent ticket sales for the summer season. Equally important, I would like to acknowledge and thank our donors, the individuals, corporations and foundations who responded to our appeals for support. Their generosity ensured the continuing financial health of the Company.”
 
George Hume added, “I take great pride in pointing out that many of our opera productions attracted capacity audiences, including the world premiere of The Bonesetter’s Daughter, as well as performances of La Bohème, Porgy and Bess and La Traviata. Although the financial realities now confronting our global economy have forced us to do some repositioning of the Company, we remain fully committed to our core values of presenting a world-class grand opera experience to our audiences both inside the Opera House and in the community.”
 
David Gockley said, “These are the results we more or less expected for FY 2009, a season less impacted by the current “Great Recession” than FY 2010 or 2011 will be. We are presently forecasting a FY 2010 deficit of $2 million and are struggling mightily to balance FY 2011, the season in which we have announced three cycles of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Contributing to this situation is the recession’s effect on ticket sales, annual contributions and the value of our endowment. Looking ahead, only significant modifications to the company’s fixed cost structure will permit us to survey the future with reasonable confidence.”
 
Artistic highlights of the Company’s 86th season in 2008-09 included the world premiere of The Bonesetter’s Daughter composed by Stewart Wallace and set to a libretto by Amy Tan; the Company premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt; the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, presented in collaboration with Cal Performances; and presentations of Simon Boccanegra, Idomeneo, Boris Godunov, The Elixir of Love and The Elixir of Love for Families, La Bohème, Tosca, Porgy and Bess, and La Traviata.
 
Many of the world’s leading singers were featured on the War Memorial Opera House stage during the 2008-09 season including Piotr Beczala, Charles Castronovo, Alice Coote, Alessandro Corbelli, Dwayne Croft, Barbara Frittoli, Elizabeth Futral, Angela Gheorghiu, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Torsten Kerl, Emily Magee, Inva Mula, Anna Netrebko, Eric Owens, Adrianne Pieczonka, Samuel Ramey, Kurt Streit and Ramón Vargas.
 
On the podium leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Chorus and international guest artists were some of the leading conductors of today, including Marco Armiliato, Bruno Campanella John DeMain, Nicola Luisotti, Donald Runnicles, Vassily Sinaisky and Steven SloaneIan Robertson was the Company’s Chorus Director.
 
In May 2009 the Company presented a Gala Concert in tribute to out-going music director Donald Runnicles with the Verdi Requiemfeaturing soloists Heidi Melton, Stephanie Blythe, Stefano Secco and Andrea Silvestrelli. In appreciation of his 17-year tenure with the Company, Maestro Runnicles was presented with the prestigious San Francisco Opera Medal. Earlier in the season, San Francisco Opera presented outdoor concerts at Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow and Stern Grove Festival, in addition to a co-presentation of soprano Angela Gheorghiu in concert at Cal Performances.
 
For the third time, San Francisco Opera partnered with the San Francisco Giants and once again hit a homerun with a free live HD Simulcast performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca from the War Memorial Opera House to AT&T Park before a cheering audience of 27,000. The 2008-09 season also showcased the emerging talented artists of the San Francisco Opera Center’s professional training program with their annual Adler Fellows Concert and four Schwabacher Debut Recitals.
 
San Francisco Opera’s commitment to the community continues to grow and expand with the acclaimed education programs of the Company and San Francisco Opera Guild, annually reaching more than 56,000 students and teachers. These in-depth programs have been acknowledged as a vital cultural resource to the San Francisco Unified Public Schools, as well as schools throughout the Bay Area.