Seattle Opera Balances Budget with 2012-13 Season
On Tuesday, September 24, at Seattle Opera's Annual Meeting at McCaw Hall, the company announced that it achieved a balanced budget for the 2012/13 season and eliminated the deficit from the 2011/12 season. The 12/13 season included productions of Turandot, Fidelio, La Cenerentola, La bohème, and a double-bill of La voix humaine and Suor Angelica. An audit, concluded in September, totaled the actual expense budget for the 12/13 season at just over $20.2 million. Revenues were sufficient to balance these expenses and retire the $758,000 accumulated deficit.
"When it became clear that Seattle Opera would post a deficit in 2012," says Board President William T. Weyerhaeuser, "the Board of Trustees announced several changes to company operations in the interests of ensuring that Seattle Opera would be in good standing when its third General Director was announced. Thanks to generous contributions from our community, including a challenge grant from the Bill & MeLinda Gates Foundation, and diligent planning and plenty of hard work and sacrifices by staff and artists, Speight Jenkins will indeed deliver a strong company to Aidan Lang. The deficit is retired, the budget is balanced, and the art is extraordinary. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I'd like to thank everyone who has made this season such a success for Seattle Opera."
In recent seasons Seattle Opera has emphasized innovation, efficiency, and partnership while more than doubling the scale of its education and community engagement programs and the number of people these programs serve. (These programs reached 53,846 people in 2012/13, up from 22,147 in 2011/12.) The positive financial results of the past season can be credited to such changes, as well as growth in Seattle Opera's capacity for fundraising. But the company has also made sacrifices: it has reduced numbers of productions and performances, implementEd Salary cuts, furloughs, and fee reductions, eliminated staff positions, and put its much-lauded Young Artists Program on hiatus. As Seattle Opera prepares for a smooth leadership transition in 2014, from outgoing General Director Speight Jenkins to the incoming Aidan Lang, the company will continue to pursue sustainability so that a healthy Seattle Opera, now entering its second half-century, continues to benefit the community.
Seattle Opera's production of Wagner's Ring this summer was a resounding artistic and financial success. Opera lovers from all over the world enjoyed performances described by many as Seattle Opera's strongest presentation yet of the epic. Earned and contributed revenues for the 2013 Ring Festival totaled $11.2 million, which covered the costs of presenting three complete Ring cycles along with symposia, events, and free community activities. It was a strong beginning to the 2013/14 season, the 50th Anniversary season of Seattle Opera and the final season led by Speight Jenkins.