Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

Arizona Opera reducing Tucson performances amid financial struggles

Véronique Filloux, a soprano studio artist, sings “Neghittosi, or voi che fate,” from “Ariodante” by Handel during the Arizona Opera’s Opera Outdoors performance at the Tucson Museum of Art, 104 N. Main Ave., on April 26.
Arizona Daily Star Tucson's main source for local news

Cathalena E. Burch

Medium: Print

“It’s an unprecedented challenging time for the arts,” said Arizona Opera President and General Director Joseph Specter. “We are hoping the community will stick with us.”

Specter said Arizona Opera has been dealt a triple blow since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered live entertainment for a year. It all started with its 2020/21 Season, which should have been five performances. Instead, the company hosted a series of outdoor and streamed concerts, which resulted in a seismic drop in ticket revenues and an even bigger decline in contributions. With no butts in the seats at Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, the company wasn’t reaching its target audience of contributors, whose gifts comprise 70% to 80% of the company’s $7.5 million operating budget.

But it is the pandemic’s drawn-out hangover that is hurting not only Arizona Opera but arts across the board. Audiences have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, which Specter and others in the arts attribute in part to the lingering recession — people are choosing to forego season tickets and instead buy single tickets and attend fewer events — and partly to people getting out of the habit of attending live performances.