Thursday (12/10) on the Atlanta arts blog, Pierre Ruhe reports, “The Atlanta Opera, coming off the strongest production in its 30-year history, announced today that it will perform just three operas next season (down from the current four) and that its budget will shrink 21.5 percent to $5.3 million (down from the current $6.75 million). The company has almost no endowment. Blaming the economy, general director Dennis Hanthorn said total ticket sales, including subscriptions and single-tickets, dropped 19 percent over the past two seasons, while fundraising revenue has decreased 13 percent. Trimming the 2010-2011 season ‘is bad news but also a good news,’ said the Atlanta Opera’s director of communications Cristina Herrera, ‘and the good part is that we are able to make the cuts in a proactive way. Dennis [Hanthorn] has helped build up this company artistically, and we weren’t going to let that artistic product slip’—in other words, a managed descent now is better than a panicky free-fall later.”

Posted December 11, 2009