Washington National Opera may merge with Kennedy Center

Posted on: July 30, 2010

In Friday’s (7/30) Wall Street Journal, Erica Orden writes, “The Washington National Opera, facing financial challenges and questions about its future, is exploring a merger with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, according to a person familiar with the matter. The arrangement under consideration would mimic the Kennedy Center’s relationship with the National Symphony Orchestra, the person said. The center would assume the opera’s assets and liabilities, and the opera would cede to the center approval on artistic and budgetary matters. Merger discussions began around March, the person said. Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser could not be reached for comment. … The National Opera has managed three consecutive balanced budgets, but it has a debt of $11 million. Its total assets in 2009 fell 16%, more than $7 million from the previous year. To cut costs, the company has laid off several staff members, including its executive director, who was hired in 2008 to help remedy its fiscal woes, and reduced its season to five productions from an average of seven.”

Posted July 30, 2010