Cutbacks, reshuffling expected at Washington National Opera
Generally reliable sources report a shakeup at Washington National Opera. From what I can gather, it looks like the financial picture is cloudy enough to necessitate a reduction in the number of productions next season (for the second year in a row), a reduction in staff, and a reshuffling of management.
Although Mark Weinstein has been credited with strengthening WNO's financial picture since becoming executive direction in Feb. 2008 (he streamlined the staff a few months into the job and advocated postponing the company's planned "Ring" Cycle because of insufficient funding), he will apparently be moved out of that job (not necessarily out of the company). No sign of any changes to Placido Domingo's role as general director.
A glance at WNO tax forms reveals financial ups and downs in recent years -- a nearly $8 million deficit in 2006, but a $2.5 million surplus in 2007; an increase in ticket sales in '07 over the previous year, but losses both years from the organization's fundraising/social events (such as the annual ball). The annual budget is around $32 million.