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Arts & Culture

San Diego Opera Singers Hope To Go To Arbitration

Greg Fedderly as Bob Boles (centre) with the San Diego Opera chorus in 'Peter Grimes'. Photo © 2009 Ken Howard
Greg Fedderly as Bob Boles (centre) with the San Diego Opera chorus in 'Peter Grimes'. Photo © 2009 Ken Howard

A complaint aimed at forcing the embattled San Diego Opera to submit to arbitration with its singers is expected to be filed Tuesday, a lawyer for the employees said.

The opera is prepared to shut down near the end of this month if it doesn't get enough funding to put on at least a limited 2015 season. The most recent season concluded Sunday.

More than 30 singers have a clause in their contracts that compels arbitration in case of disputes, Los Angeles-based lawyer Hope Singer told City News Service. She said the opera, which cited an untenable financial condition for its plan to fold, has refused arbitration.


She said a complaint to compel arbitration will be filed in federal court. The contracts are good for two more years, she said.

The looming shutdown has been intensely criticized, and director Ian Campbell was booed at the opera company's final performances.

Nicolas Reveles, the opera's director of education, said nearly 50 full-time staff members, along with about 350 local musicians, singers and other tradespeople, depend on the opera season's five months of work.

He said the opera has a nearly $7 million impact on the local economy. The San Diego Symphony alone earned $1.4 million in revenue during this season, and the San Diego Civic Theatre made $800,000, he said.

The patron and donor base for opera companies are diminishing nationwide. Opera companies in New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Baltimore, San Antonio and Orange County have gone out of business recently, according to the San Diego Opera.


The Opera originated as the San Diego Opera Guild in 1950. The San Diego Opera Association was incorporated in 1965.