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The Voice of San Diego Podcast

VOSD’s Friday roundup of the past week’s news in brief, featuring interviews with special guests and more.

Mar 29, 2014

You might have heard the San Diego Opera will be closing its curtains to the public in June this year. Efforts are underway to save the nearly 50-year-old institution, but San Diegans are still grappling with what this means for the city's national stature.

Carlos Cota, business manager for Local 122 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, had a few things to say about the closure. He was particularly displeased with the method in which stagehands learned of the closure — an unceremonious Facebook post.

On this week's podcast, he gave VOSD Radio's hosts Andy Keatts, Scott Lewis and Caty Green his two cents on what happened and what's ahead for the opera. Here are some of the key points Cota made.

Small businesses are gonna feel this.

"It's definitely one of the biggest arts organizations in our city and we're going to lose all that talent — companies in particular. What a lot of the general public doesn't understand or even have knowledge of, is that on Commercial Avenue there's the San Diego Opera Scenic Studios, and they build ... all of the sets. We also build all the costumes locally. So welding shop, a wood shop, a full paint shop, full production for props and everything else as well with all the costumes."

The opera can survive with some changes.

"There is a market. There's 31,000 (people) right now for grand opera — that's what we're doing. We're doing world-class opera, so I can't fault that. It's beautiful, it's well-recognized. People travel in and fly from all over the country and all over the world to see the San Diego Opera. But that maybe is half of the market in San Diego, you know? Maybe we need to give the opera to a new demographic, you know? ... More modern, bells and whistles, to reach a younger, broader audience."

But it'll take new leadership.

"This is, in my opinion the most undignified way to go. ... We have put on world-class opera for years in San Diego, you know? Met-quality, high-scale, full grand opera, and so you know, it's difficult, but Ian (Campbell) has given up ... My opinion is that they gave up on us. They gave up on our city, they gave up to all of us who have devoted our lives and careers to the San Diego Opera and it's time to look for new leadership."