Former San Diego Opera board president Karen Cohn
Only a week after the board of the San Diego Opera reaffirmed its decision to lock their doors permanently, the hapless company found itself mired in turmoil. On Thursday Karen Cohn, the president of the board, resigned along with thirteen board members. It’s fitting that Ms. Cohn would lead such a contingent out the door since hers is the voice that’s been arguing the loudest that shrinking ticket sales have left the 49-year-old company only one option: close down.
Carol Lazier, a board member who previously donated $1 million to keep the opera afloat, was named acting president. The remaining board voted to postpone the scheduled April 29 closing of the opera company until May 19, in order to have enough time to “to explore opportunities to continue the Opera Association’s mission.”
The die appears to be cast for the company. Nonetheless, they have faced resistance from performers and ticket-buyers who have pressured them to keep the doors open and find creative ways to compensate for the budget shortfall. The pressure appears to have had at least some effect. Lazier has called a meeting on Monday to assess alternatives to turning off the lights – such as slimming the company down by as more than 50 percent.
“We have a devoted staff, an energized association and a board newly focused on finding novel and fiscally responsible ways to present great opera to the city of San Diego,” Ms. Lanzier said. “I have been deeply encouraged by the outpouring of public support, and the genuine and enthusiastic participation by the San Diego Symphony, Opera America, and the opera world.”
Tenor Jeffrey Dinsmore (1972-2014)
The performance of the West Coast premiere of “De Materie” by Louis Andriessen will take place Friday night at Disney Concert Hall as scheduled, despite the sudden death of choral singer Jeffrey Dinsmore, 42, of The Crossing, a chamber choir from Philadelphia.
Dinsmore had been warming up with other members of The Crossing at Choral Hall, a rehearsal room at Disney Hall, when he became ill, according to Lisa Bellamore, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The L.A. County coroner’s department said the tenor was pronounced dead at 11:55 a.m., apparently from natural causes. An autopsy will be conducted later this week.
Officials declined to provide further details of the cause or circumstances of Dinsmore’s death. An autopsy is planned for later this week, the coroner’s office said.
“De Materie,” sung in Dutch, is scheduled to be performed only once at Disney Hall. It’s all part of the L.A. Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox series.
President of the L.A. Philharmonic, Deborah Borda, said in a prepared statement that it was a “profound shock to lose an artist during the preparation of a program.” As to Friday’s performance, she siad that members of the Crossing “have chosen to go on with the show and dedicate the performance to his memory.”
According to a Los Angeles Times article, Dinsmore’s “death is believed to be the first time a performer has died at Disney Hall since its 2003 opening.”
What I love most about having the day off is the time spent with myself and my wife. This morning I got up and put on a pot of coffee. While the house was filling with the aroma of Peet’s Coffee, I got out the galleys of my grammar book, looking forward to some serious line editing. The three few cups of coffee helped with the proofing, intense work under the best of circumstances. Around noon Sandy and I had lunch together — a rarity — and then I spent the mid-afternoon walking around the Claremont Village and the campus of Pomona College. We’re in the midst of a drought here in California, so the weather was dry and warm, as it has been for many months, and people were strolling along, enjoying the weather — while the rest of the US freezes through a hard winter. A quick trip to Vons and I had everything I needed to make homemade chicken soup for dinner. Sandy’s been under the weather lately, and the chicken soup tasted great.