Ian Campbell shut down San Diego Opera, saying it was no longer viable. Some members of the board rebelled and he was fired. Now the board has paid Campbell and his ex-wife Ann more than $1m to go quietly, according to tax documents made public on Friday.
The board said: ‘A friend of the Opera, who has chosen to remain anonymous, donated the funds with the specific instruction that they be used to resolve all issues with the transition in leadership so that no other donors’ funds would be used for this purpose.’
For a shaprer view, here’s Nicolas Mansfield, director of Netherlands Touring Opera:
To us Europeans this is a wild and unbelievable story about a man who headed an opera company for 31 years (with his ex-wife), tried to close it down and moved to New York to start a new life. San Diego Opera gave around 16 performances (not productions) per year, for which his annual salary was around one million dollars. One anonymous donor funded his payoff and as cherry on the cake he gets free tickets for every San Diego Opera premiere for life.
Here’s wishing my friend and colleague, David Bennett, all the best in opening a new chapter for this fabulous opera company.