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Dallas Opera Bounces Back from Crisis to Balanced Budgets

by Jerome Weeks 19 Sep 2014 3:00 PM

Only two years ago, the Dallas Opera was hurting so bad, it had cut its season down to three shows. This season it’s back up to five, and the company’s $15 million budget is balanced. Again.


Keith Cerny, CEOFor the first time in 15 years, the Dallas Opera has announced it’s now balanced its budget two seasons in a row. In 2012, the opera’s finances were seriously hurting. Having moved into the Winspear Opera House, the company was forced to cut back its regular season from five shows to three. The new season, which starts next month, returns to five full productions, including Everest, a world premiere.

Keith Cerny

Dallas Opera general manager Keith Cerny says the financial turn-around has been the result of company-wide changes: “One of the things we’ve been working on the last several years has been re-orienting the opera’s mission around community service. We have launched a major public simulcast series which has really helped build support in the community. We’ve refreshed our programming — with more commissions and lesser-known works. And we appointed a new music director about 18 months ago, Emmanuel Villaume, who has had a big impact on the company. Taken together, these different areas have allowed us to really improve our profile in the community and increase donor support. “

Cerny says, all of this has led to balancing Dallas Opera’s $15 million budget twice — ahead of schedule.