Dallas Opera Achieves First Balanced Operating Budget Since 2005
The Dallas Opera is proud to announce today that the company has achieved its first balanced operating budget since Fiscal 2005, a full two years ahead of schedule. The company's latest fiscal year ended on June 30th.
Exactly two years ago, the Dallas Opera faced its most severe financial crisis in modern company history, prompting the TDO Boardand General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, who assumed the role in May of 2010, to initiate an aggressive restructuring of company operations. This included the difficult step of cancelling one of the mainstage operas of the 2011-2012 Season, and reducing the 2012-2013 Season to three mainstage operas. These steps were taken as part of a multi-year plan to restore the company's financial health while maintaining artistic quality, and to achieve a balanced operating budget no later than the end of the 2014-2015 Season.
The subsequent outpouring of board, trustee and public support allowed the company to build a base of multi-year donor commitments, to secure major new gifts, earn an anonymous $10 million dollar match (through an equal amount in donations to the Cultural Renaissance Endowment Fund), dramatically reduce costs without sacrificing overall artistic quality, and steadily reduce the company's deficits.
In recent fiscal years, TDO donors made significant, multi-year gifts while many other donors increased their level of giving in recognition of the Dallas Opera's commitment to the highest standards of artistic quality, strict financial discipline and a demonstrated ability to adapt to the changing marketplace.
At the same time, the company moved boldly ahead with plans for two free Cowboys Stadium Simulcasts that attracted close to 30,000 patrons, and several new productions (including critically acclaimed versions of Tristan & Isolde, The Lighthouse and The Aspern Papers) in addition to two upcoming world premieres: Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer's EVEREST slated for February of 2015, followed in October 2015 by the world premiere of Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick) and Terrence McNally's first new opera together in more than a decade, GREAT SCOTT, which will star world-renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
After careful analysis, the Board and Dallas Opera's administrative leadership took the necessary steps to put the company's financial house in order to provide a foundation for continued artistic success. Aided by unwavering donor and community support, the Dallas Opera last season gave music lovers throughout North Texas outstanding performances of AIDA, TURANDOT, the chamber opera BON APPÉTIT and THE ASPERN PAPERS, while demonstrating our ability to balance the books and plan for expanded future seasons. This gave the Dallas Opera the firm footing required to return to a four-opera season (with an additional world premiere) in 2013-2014, the first season entirely planned under the direction of Keith Cerny.
"However, it's vital that we not lose our momentum because our task is far from finished," explains Mr. Cerny. "We must remain resolute in meeting all future financial and fund-raising goals while continuing to engage every sector of the community in TDO's quest for new and more diverse audiences.
"Even in our most difficult days, during which we cut TDO's full-time administrative staff by more than fifteen percent, we committed ourselves to expanding the Dallas Opera's community outreach and education programs, dramatically increasing the number of students served and introducing entire families to the excitement of this unique art form.
"While no one can predict the future of the economy," he adds, "with astute leadership from the Dallas Opera Board and Trustees and the support of all our loyal patrons, we can continue to build on these hard-fought achievements in seasons to come."