SAN FRANCISCO (March 2, 2015) — The audited financial results for San Francisco Opera’s 2013–14 season (FY14) were announced today by San Francisco Opera Association President Keith Geeslin: a deficit of $348,244 on an operating budget of $74,119,493. The Company’s 91st season presented eight main stage works at the War Memorial Opera House in addition to numerous concerts, recitals, workshops and community engagement events attracting more than 271,954 individuals.
Total operating revenue for FY14 rose from $30,808,345 to $37,013,042 with income from ticket sales for FY14 at $22,674,340 compared to the prior season (FY13) at $19,785,866. The increase in earned income was due in part to the popularity of the season repertory including Show Boat, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly and Mefistofele. Contributions to the FY14 Annual Fund reflected a slight decrease of less than 1% from the previous year, coming to $36,758,207 in financial support from approximately 7,600 donors. At the close of FY14 on July 31, 2014, the Company’s endowment was valued at $164,698,210 reflecting an increase of 11.5% over the previous year’s balance of $147,754,431 as of July 31, 2013.
Commenting on the results of the audited report Mr. Geeslin said, “Despite our best efforts to meet the financial goals we set for FY14, the Company posted a modest deficit. While this is never great news to report, I am heartened by the enthusiastic support of our thousands of generous donors and ticket buyers who remain committed to producing world class opera in the Bay Area. Our community’s support of San Francisco Opera is truly remarkable.”
San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley added, “It’s a smaller deficit than we anticipated and that is always good news. But, it’s the result of positive but non-recurring income and expense items that we cannot expect on an ongoing basis. I commend everyone in the organization for managing expenses so tightly and capably, and especially want to acknowledge our development department for delivering a staggering amount in annual contributions for yet another year.”
San Francisco Opera’s 2013–14 season featured an impressive range of works on the War Memorial Opera House stage beginning with the Company’s acclaimed Robert Carsen production of Boito’s celestial Mefistofele, a presentation conducted by San Francisco Opera Music Director Nicola Luisotti that was beamed live in HD to 113 European cinemas and commercially released on DVD/Blu-ray. The season continued with the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne set to a libretto by J.D. McClatchy based on the novel Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King; Giuseppe Verdi’s final operatic masterpiece Falstaff, including a live HD simulcast to Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater; a new production of Richard Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman); and a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), in addition to two special family presentations in English of The Barber of Seville for Families. Special to the fall season and in honor of Verdi’s bicentennial celebration, San Francisco Opera joined with the renowned Teatro di San Carlo of Naples for a combined orchestra and chorus of 320 performers in a concert of the composer’s Messa da Requiem (Requiem Mass). The summer season began with the Company premiere of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s award winning Show Boat, presented in repertory with two operatic classics, Verdi’s La Traviata and Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
Many of the world’s most important singers, conductors, directors and creative artists were assembled for the season including such singers as: Ainhoa Arteta, Nicole Cabell, Leah Crocetto, Elizabeth DeShong, Elizabeth Futral, Isabel Leonard, Lise Lindstrom, Daniela Mack, Ailyn Pérez, Patricia Racette, Heidi Stober, Ildar Abdrazakov, Javier Camarena, Alessandro Corbelli, Stephen Costello, Michael Fabiano, Greer Grimsely, Audun Iversen, Brian Jagde, Quinn Kelsey, Lucas Meachem, Brian Mulligan, Maurizio Muraro, Saimir Pirgu, Morris Robinson, Alek Shrader, Kristinn Sigmundsson, Vladimir Stoyanov, Bryn Terfel and Ramón Vargas. On the podium leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus was Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti, Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers, Company Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi, John DeMain and George Manahan; Ian Robertson is director of the San Francisco Opera Chorus and Fabrizio Corona is Associate Chorus Master.
Other musical highlights of the season included popular and free outdoor concerts at the Stern Grove Festival featuring guest singers Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello with conductor George Manahan and the Opera Orchestra, and Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow for the annual Opera in the Park concert with stars of the fall season and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti; a return to AT&T Park for the Company’s annual Opera at the Ballpark live HD simulcast offered La Traviata over the July 4 holiday weekend; a concert featuring the 2013 San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellows and Opera Orchestra at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center; three Schwabacher Debut Recitals with select San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellows and Merola Opera Program alumni; and multiple performances, workshops and special presentations for Bay Area students, teachers, families and adults, in addition to a free Community Open House that was held throughout the Opera House in fall 2013.
Regarding San Francisco Opera’s many successful new media initiatives, Gockley commented, “The Company continues to expand our global stature and emphasize many of the wonderful live performances recorded and produced in high-definition format from the War Memorial Opera House. I’m proud to say these initiatives stress one of the Company’s core values of providing greater accessibility and enjoyment of the opera art form to a broader community. In this spirit, we’ve forged meaningful relationships with our esteemed media partners Rising Alternative, EuroArts, Naxos, THIRTEEN for WNET/PBS Great Performances and KQED Public Television, in addition to our ongoing Bay Area and national radio partners KDFC and WFMT, and anticipate audiences locally and worldwide will be the true beneficiary of our collective efforts.”
The 2013–14 season saw San Francisco Opera’s return to Northern California’s premiere public television station KQED with four Company-produced performances hosted by renowned opera star Frederica von Stade: Porgy and Bess, Aida, Boris Godunov, and Lucrezia Borgia; a nationwide broadcast of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick produced by San Francisco Opera for PBS TV’s Great Performances series; and screenings of various Company productions at local and regional cinemas and cultural arts centers. Working with Rising Alternative, San Francisco Opera performances continue to be screened in popular cinemas throughout much of Europe attracting new audiences in thirteen countries. In partnership with the Berlin-based EuroArts Music International and Naxos of America, San Francisco Opera has produced and commercially released to date five DVD/Blu-ray productions including Moby-Dick with Jay Hunter Morris; Lucrezia Borgia with Renée Fleming; I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Joyce DiDonato; Porgy and Bess with Eric Owens and Laquita Mitchell; and Mefistofele with Ildar Abdrazakov, Ramón Vargas and Patricia Racette. The Company’s robust media efforts continue monthly with the highly successful San Francisco Opera International Radio Broadcast series of live-recorded main stage operas from the War Memorial Opera House heard locally on KDFC Radio and nationwide via the WFMT Radio Network.
The FY14 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.