The man who tried to kill an opera house

The man who tried to kill an opera house


norman lebrecht

May 16, 2014

Ian Campbell got tired of running San Diego Opera. He had been doing the job for 30 years, was 68 years old and was going nowhere. So he persuaded the board that the company was not worth keeping.

The board agreed.

Then a feisty lady called Carol Lazier gave a million dollars and led a boardroom revolution. Half the board resigned. Campbell, who was making $488,875 a year basic and had hired his wife, now ex, at similar rates, was suspended. Ms Lazier and friends raised another $2 million in no time flat. San Diego Opera has a future.

Last night, it severed its connection with Ian Campbell. Lawyers are negotiating compensation.

Full story here.



  • Steven Ledbetter says:

    It’s beyond compehension why a man who had reached that age with 30 years in the position behind him didn’t simply choose to retire in honor. Instead, it appears, he will now be remembered in infamy. And best wishes for his successors and the San Diego Opera!

  • sdReader says:

    “Opera companies … in Dallas, St. Louis and Philadelphia showed it was possible to redefine opera for the 21st century.”

    Jim Chute reports well, but he does support the assertion above. The jury is out.

  • Guus Mostart says:

    Unfortunately Ian Campbell is very out of touch with how opera is perceived today. “Park and bark” has long passed it’s sell-by date.

  • Nick says:

    A Board sets the company’s vision and approves its budget. From what I read, Campbell was wedded to outdated concepts at inflated budgets. Why the Board sat back and did nothing as he continued without paying attention to changing times and practices, and then approved his plans to close down the company is what is beyond comprehension.