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Eugene Opera forced to cancel current season to address financial issues

By Staff Writer on Jan 25, 2017 11:41 AM EST

The Eugene Opera will have to cancel all the remaining productions of the 2016-2017 season. That is according to the opera's manager, stating the lack of funds as the main reason behind the season's suspension.

Eugene Opera manager Mark Beudert revealed the saddening news last Friday as the company needs to consult with its patrons regarding the financial issues, Register-Guard reported. Beudert, who has served as the opera's general manager since 2006, said that the discussion regarding the season's cancellation began at the board meeting last Jan. 5. One of the concerns raised during the meeting was the high direct cost of the opera's "West Side Story" production this season and its negative implication on the opera's dwindling finances.

The 2016-2017 of the Eugene Opera was branded as the company's 40th anniversary season, having shown two out of the 4 scheduled productions. These productions include "Much Ado About Nothing" from October last year and "An Opera Trio," which was staged on Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 at the Hult Center.

With this development, the "West Side Story" and "La Tragedie de Carmen" planned for March and May, respectively, have been suspended. People who already purchased the tickets for the mentioned productions are advised to wait for the official announcement.

Even so, Beudert believes that the suspension of Eugene Opera's current season will give ample time for the company to talk with the public. The company's board needs to know what went wrong with their previous productions, even as their audience appears to have enjoyed every performance onstage.

"There's a sense of frustration. What are we not doing?" Beudert said. "People are blown away (by our productions), but not enough people are coming."

The manager also cited the US presidential election last November as one of the causes of the opera's dipping ticket sales in 2016. On the other hand, the company's board president Barbara Wheatley told KVal News that the Eugene Opera owes a huge sum of money to its artists and partner businesses due to expensive productions. Thus, canceling the current season is inevitable.

"Well the gap between our income and expenses have been growing gradually, steadily over several years now," Wheatley revealed. Moreover, the opera is indebted by at least $100,000 and maxed out its credit limit for $60,000.

However, the financial woes of the Eugene Opera this season is not the worst. In early 1990's, the opera is reported to have incurred a total debt of $400,000. Fortunately, the opera survived and has been doing well in spite of the recurring funding problems.

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TagsEugene Opera, Eugene Opera house, Eugene Opera 2016-2017 season, Eugene Opera 2016-2017, Eugene Opera season cancel, Eugene Opera season cancelled, Eugene Opera cancelled, Eugene Opera news, Eugene Opera update, Mark Beudert, Much Ado About Nothing, An Opera Trio, West Side Story, La Tragedie de ­Carmen

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