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Pandemic Profile: San Diego Opera

General director David Bennett talks about being ‘nimble’

Photo credit: San Diego Opera

San Diego Opera staged a live drive-in performance of "La Boheme" in October.

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Arts organizations have been hit hard by the pandemic. But San Diego Opera discovered that some of the lessons it learned from an earlier financial crisis have proven useful during ... Read more →

Aired: December 22, 2020 | Transcript

Reported by Beth Accomando

Arts organizations have been hit hard by the pandemic. But San Diego Opera discovered that some of the lessons it learned from an earlier financial crisis have proven useful during these current challenging times.

Back in 2016, David Bennett went on a "listening tour" to find out what San Diego thought of opera. Bennett came on as general director to help San Diego Opera avoid closure.

Special Feature Pandemic Profiles

In an ongoing series, KPBS takes a look at how San Diegans are coping during the coronavirus pandemic.

Little did he realize then that the core values the company was adopting in response to that financial crisis would prove beneficial to successfully surviving a pandemic.

"Now, I will say that coming out of the near closure that we experienced five, almost six years ago, now we've learned to be adaptive and nimble," Bennett said. "That actually is one of our core values that the company created that says, 'through nimble adaptation to the changing marketplace, we preserve the future of San Diego Opera.' And that was written as a response to the near closure and I think in terms was really thought about financial changing marketplace. But boy, are those words never more true than they are right now. And so we have to learn to be nimble."

Whether you call it nimble or pivoting, San Diego Opera has adapted to ever changing guidelines about what kind of events it can hold. In October it held a live drive-in performance of "La Boheme" and this month it is doing a drive-in screening of its "All is Calm" that KPBS recorded in 2018.

Listen to this story by Beth Accomando.

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Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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