Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drops In The Bucket

The Metropolitan Opera led all US Arts Organizations in funding from private sources with $128.1 million dollars in 2007 according to a survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Lincoln Center followed with a pittance of $123.9 million. On the west (and arguably better) coast San Francisco Opera came in at $70.7 million. All in all this list of philanthropic donations grew by an impressive 4.5% in 2007. That's a lot of drops in the bucket.

Who knows what 2008 will bring.

We here at San Diego Opera have a more modest annual budget of around $17 million. And with this, it now seems like as good a time as any to remind our fair readers that opera is the most expensive of the performing arts, since it is a combination of all other performing arts.

Ticket sales only account for roughly half of our budget, leaving the rest of the funds to be generated by personal and corporate donations. Of course this is not an ideal business model -- to give your product away for half the cost it takes to produce it -- but then to do otherwise would make opera even more expensive than it already is.

While we do not need $128.1 million dollars to present top-notch opera to our community or to maintain this hopefully entertaining blog (the Aria Serious jet will need to wait) if you've found some change in your couch, cleaned out your car ashtray or have been drinking and surfing the internet with your credit card in hand, help keep opera more affordable in San Diego by giving what you can to our organization. Compared to $128 million it might just seem like a drop in the bucket, but with enough drops we can keep our community nourished for many years to come.

-- Edward

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