Cutbacks at Washington National Opera

Posted on: December 1, 2009

In Tuesday’s (12/1) Washington Post, Anne Midgette writes, “Following weeks of rumors about serious financial difficulty, the Washington National Opera on Monday announced cutbacks, not only to staff, but also to programming for next season. The 2010-11 season will present only five operas, down from six this season and seven in 2008-09. The company is also eliminating eight staff positions and shuffling at least one. Mark Weinstein, brought in as executive director in 2008, ‘will be focusing exclusively on fundraising and broad-range financial strategic planning,’ according to a statement by the opera’s president, Kenneth R. Feinberg. Weinstein will retain his title through the end of this season, Feinberg explained in a subsequent telephone conversation. … The cutbacks—which include a salary freeze and rolling furloughs starting at the end of the current calendar year—will reduce the company’s annual budget from $32 million to about $26.5 million, according to Harry L. Gutman, the treasurer of the opera’s executive committee. … Feinberg and other WNO officials are emphatic that they are not stinting on artistic quality; next season, they say, will include major artists and at least one new production.”

Posted December 1, 2009