In Tuesday’s (5/19) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein reports good news for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. “The Lyric has posted a surplus of about $100,000 for the 2008-09 season, on an operating budget of $54.9 million. This marked the sixth consecutive fiscal year the company has recorded an excess of income over expenses. The Lyric has operated in the black for 21 of the last 22 years. The company sold 93 percent of its seating capacity for its 82 performances, generating $27.96 million in ticket revenue for the season that ended in March. Fifty-one percent of the performances were 100 percent sold at the 3,500-seat Civic Opera House. Contributed revenue slightly exceeded the goal of $18.65 million, partly as a result of a successful wine auction, which raised $1.2 million.” But the Lyric has also seen a decline in the value of its endowment from $151 million in fiscal 2008 to approximately $112 million. “As a result, the Lyric is cutting spending wherever possible, freezing staff salaries and leaving vacant positions unfilled next season.”

Posted May 20, 2009