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“I’m very hopeful that we’ll collect the rest,” said Sacramento Opera General Director Rod Gideons. “We just put out the word, and people have really been responding.”
The board of directors will decide Thursday if enough money has been raised to proceed with the coming season, Gideons said.
So far, $117,358 has been pledged.
After canceling its last two shows of the season – “The Magic Flute” and “The Postman Always Rings Twice” – the opera is trying to raise enough of the $175,000 it needs in order to ensure the financial viability of the next season.
“We’re the only professional opera company in this region,” Gideons said. “We feel like we help complete the arts amenities in this region.”
Keeping live performing arts in the community is one of Gideons’ goals, he said, as no technology can substitute for a live stage performance.
The slowing economy has affected all the arts in Sacramento, according to Gideons and Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra Executive Director and CEO Marc Feldman, but Gideons said the opera has high up-front costs that must be covered, with as much as 60 percent of production costs for a performance being swallowed before the curtain lifts on opening night.
“This economy makes it difficult to raise funds for everybody,” said Feldman, whose Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra is looking into an alliance with the opera. “With nonprofits, we are the first to feel a downturn and the last to feel an upturn.”
Feldman said he has heard that nonprofits can expect a turnaround in funding to come again in three to 10 years, and that for the time being, patrons and supporters of the orchestra are providing the “glimmer of hope” of better times to come.
Corporate donors are hard to come by, he said, since many are experiencing financial woes of their own, and others are being cautious on where to spend their philanthropic funds.
Gideons said the arts provide a community with a sense of its own identity.
“I think, first and foremost, it’s a sense of where we have come from, where we are and where we hope to go as a society and a people.”
Feldman agreed, saying he thinks investing in the arts is important to the quality of life of any city.
“This is the capital city of the seventh-largest economy in the world,” Gideons said. “Arguably, the capital city should be able to fund the arts.”
Pledges are currently being accepted, and they can be sent via email to email@example.com, by calling 737-1000 ext. 305 or by mail to Sacramento Opera, P.O. Box 161027, Sacramento, CA 95816.
Pledges must be for donations within the next 12 months, and those payments can be made monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or in one lump sum.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.