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Singers Union Drops Lawsuit Against San Diego Opera

Above: San Diego Opera performances take place at the San Diego Civic Theatre, seen here in January 2010.

The union representing solo singers at the San Diego Opera has withdrawn a labor lawsuit against the troubled company and vowed to work with the current board to revive the opera for next season.

The American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents solo singers, chorus singers and stage management personnel at the opera, filed the claim with the National Labor Relations Board on March 26, accusing the opera company of failing to honor year-long contracts with 35 singers.

The opera had announced one week prior it would close at the end of its 49th season due to sagging attendance and then-director Ian Campbell's belief the organization's demise was inevitable.

Campbell has since been placed on leave, former opera board president Karen Cohn has resigned along with more than 20 other members and the remaining board — led by current president Carol Lazier — have raised more than $800,000 in 12 days via crowd-sourcing.

"We are pleased with the San Diego Opera Board's decision to work to keep the Opera open, and particularly their commitment to treat AGMA's members with the respect they deserve," AGMA national Executive Director Alan Gordon said in a statement. "If the Opera makes good on its intentions to honor its contractual commitments, we don't need or want another lawsuit."

The original closure date to shutter the company and sell off its assets was April 14, the day after its final sold-out performance of "Don Quixote." A board vote on March 31 delayed the closure by two weeks until April 29.

Another vote by the board on April 18 extended that closure date to at least May 19.

Last week, the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture voted to recommend that the San Diego City Council give the opera $160,000 for the next fiscal year, which is less than half of what the company was set to receive.

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