Opera company ends year on happy note: it's in the black

August 02, 1991|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic

Less than a year after he warned that the Baltimore Opera Company was facing bankruptcy, BOC chairman Lowell Bowen has announced that "the opera has risen from the dead."

Bowen said yesterday that unaudited financial statements for the fiscal year that ended June 30 show an operating surplus of $41,000, compared to a loss of $476,000 at this time last year. "That we survived is amazing," Bowen said. "That we finished in the black is miraculous."

The company survived for two reasons. Last December it initiated a successful $1 million "Save the Opera" campaign that erased the company's long-term debt and provided enough cash flow to meet costs. Equally crucial, Bowen said, was the support of ticket holders who allowed the company to present a Wagner concert, instead of a more expensive staged opera, and attended the three full productions in record numbers.

Next season, the BOC will continue to contain costs by presenting only three productions instead of the four that have been the custom in past years.

"We enter the 1991-92 season with a balanced budget and a new lease on life," Bowen said.

Next year the company will present Verdi's "Don Carlo," Donizetti's "The Daughter of the Regiment" and Mozart's "The Magic Flute." The production of "Don Carlo," which opens Oct. 19, will star Baltimore-born James Morris, the world's pre-eminent bass-baritone, as Phillip II. It will be staged by Roberto Oswald and Anibal Lapiz, who staged the much-acclaimed BOC production of Strauss' "Salome" two seasons ago.

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