In reporting on the San Diego Opera’s looming closure, news outlets around the city have come to spread a few myths as facts.
File photo by Sam Hodgson
It's been a big week for opera in San Diego: The San Diego Opera just announced the lineup for its 51st season, and a new "artist-driven" company called City Opera is setting up shop in town. Pictured: San Diego Opera cast members perform a dress rehearsal of "Turandot" in 2013.
The future of the San Diego Opera hangs in the balance, and there’s been no shortage of speculation on the causes and implications of such a loss.
But in reporting those circumstances, the media has helped perpetuate five myths, represented as facts. Let’s address them here, and dispense with them once and for all.
The San Diego Opera is world-class.
It is not. World-class opera happens in New York, possibly San Francisco, Chicago, various cities in Europe – perhaps two dozen places total. Then there are somewhere between 50 and 100 “first class” opera companies, from Houston to Lyon, Bratislava to Bucharest and Graz and maybe San Diego.
With its four annual productions and 16 performances, San Diego’s got to be the smallest of these first-class companies. Over the years, acclaimed singers have performed here. The pay is competitive and with only four performances during one month – one per week – the stress remains within limits. But let’s not kid ourselves with a tacked-on “world-class” distinction.