The Kentucky Opera announced today that the organization ended the year with a budget surplus. This is the third season under general director David Roth that the Opera has come out ahead. The season was marked by controversy over how the Opera filled its orchestra pit during the prolonged labor dispute between Louisville Orchestra musicians and management. That controversy, which included labor protests during the spring production of "The Merry Widow," apparently had little impact on the Opera's bottom line.
From the Opera's release:
While KO presented the Brown-Forman 2011/12 Season without canceling one performance, General Director David Roth says, “The challenges KO had to overcome last season were unprecedented in our industry. We wish to thank all of our patrons for supporting us while we worked to overcome those challenges. We also wish to thank the musicians, management and board of the LO for coming together in April this year and reaching an agreement that guarantees live music for the 60th anniversary season of KO”.
The Opera contracted separately with LO musicians for their 2011-12 season opener "Carmen," which reportedly cost the Opera about $33,500 more than they had budgeted under the previous Orchestra contract. The Opera then scaled back to piano and harpsichord for "The Marriage of Figaro" and opened the pit to 35 non-union musicians for February's "The Merry Widow," a series of decisions that led to Orchestra players nominating the Opera for the American Federation of Musicians' "international unfair list." They were released from the list shortly after the Orchestra players and management reached an agreement in April, ending the year-long standoff.
The Kentucky Opera opens its 2012-13 season September 21 with Puccini's "Tosca." The Louisville Orchestra, working under a one-year bridge contract, will play for the Opera's entire season, which runs through February.