San Francisco Opera Launches Company Relief Fundraising Challenge

Release date: 10/13/2020    


$5 million one-to-one matching fund to support Company through unprecedented disruption of COVID-19 pandemic

 Company Relief Challenge.pdf

San Francisco Opera announces the launch of the Company Relief Challenge, a $5 million matching fund to help underwrite the Company’s support of its members and sustain San Francisco Opera through the unprecedented disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will match one-to-one all annual gifts, pledges and donated ticket funds through November 23, 2020. This critical challenge is made possible by the inspiring generosity of longtime Company sponsors John and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Pitch and Cathie Johnson, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem.

“San Francisco Opera has always enjoyed extraordinary support from the community, but the dedication our donors have shown during this crisis is truly phenomenal,” said San Francisco Opera Association President Keith Geeslin. “I am so grateful to John and Cynthia, Pitch and Cathie, and Maria and Jan for their generous leadership in supporting the people of the Company and inspiring others to follow their example.”

San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock stated: “We are a company of makers and creators, each season employing hundreds of the world’s leading singers, instrumentalists, designers, dancers, crew members, administrators and more. We are deeply grateful both to our Company members who are making such deep sacrifices right now and to the community of opera lovers that is sustaining these incredible employees and artists, allowing us to present world-class opera long into the future. The support that this challenge will make possible ensures we will come back to an exciting future that includes Eun Sun Kim’s inaugural 2021–22 Season and our 2022–23 Centennial Season with confidence, optimism and creativity.”

For more information or to donate to San Francisco Opera’s Company Relief Challenge, visit or call San Francisco Opera Donor Services at (415) 565-3212.

The global pandemic has caused the cancellation of San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 seasons. During the shutdown, the Company continues to engage with audiences and share great artistry worldwide through new initiatives including Opera is ON, streams of past performances, the Opera Aficionado interactive education series and alternative programming such as the virtual event Celebrating the Summer Season. Over the past months, as health orders have permitted, limited work has resumed at San Francisco Opera’s Scene Shop and Costume Shop. The construction of a new orchestra shell and multilevel set of Fidelio (the new production which was to have premiered last month) will allow the Company to be innovative and flexible in its programming. The Costume Shop has begun creating costumes for future productions while continuing to produce thousands of face masks for Bay Area essential workers. The shutdown has also allowed the final phase of the War Memorial Opera House seat upgrade project to take place this fall and winter, ensuring a more comfortable and accessible opera-going experience when performances resume in the Opera House.

*For the complete press release please view the attached PDF.