In Friday’s (4/17) Orlando Sentinel, Elizabeth Maupin reports, “Orlando Opera Company, one of the oldest arts groups in Central Florida, will suspend operations April 30. The 51-year-old company is a victim of lower ticket sales, reduced contributions and defaults on pledges, said Jim Ireland, the company’s president and CEO. The group announced three weeks ago that it could not continue if it did not raise $500,000. A recent three-week fund drive brought in only about $25,000, spokesman Andy Howard said. … The opera had been expected to be one of the major tenants of the proposed Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center (DPAC), along with Orlando Philharmonic, the Festival of Orchestras, Orlando Ballet and the Broadway Across America – Orlando touring series. Spokeswoman Laura Guitar said DPAC had nothing to add to its statement three weeks ago, that having an opera helps Orlando say it’s a culturally rich city. … Community leaders reacted to the news with sorrow. ‘This is a sad day for the Orlando arts community,’ said David Schillhammer, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s executive director.”

Posted April 17, 2009