Chicago’s Lyric claims bleak, even
The company says it broke even last season. Local business reports say it made a big loss. Go figure.
Lyric reported $61.9 million in total revenue for the year, down substantially from $86.8 million the previous year.
Total expenses for the year climbed to $84.1 million, up from $79 million the previous year. Earned income dropped to $25.1 million from $34.7 million the previous year, while unearned income fell to $36.1 million million from $52.7 million the previous year.
Given these results, the math shows Lyric incurred a $22.2 million loss for FY2016, which ended June 30, 2016.
Lyric chief financial officer Lane suggested in a cover letter posted with the financial report that the success of Lyric’s Breaking New Ground campaign “afforded us the ability to present a breakeven 2015/16 season.”
UPDATE: Response from Roberta Lane, Lyric Opera CFO:
Lewis Lazare’s piece was based on looking at a supplemental schedule at the back of Lyric’s audited Financial Statements. The schedule, Statement of Activities, reflects all of the increases and decreases in Lyric’s net assets by fund. There are 4 funds shown on the statement: 1.) Our operating fund (this really is the Income Statement reflecting the season’s revenue and expenses and the column to focus on when analyzing the results of operations, 2.) Other unrestricted funds (including activity in our investment reserves), 3.) Temporarily restricted (where we record contributions restricted to a particular purpose, such as Breaking New Ground contributions), 3.) Permanently restricted (which is our endowment). Mr. Lazare was looking at all of the activity in all of the funds and, incorrectly, concluding that our operations generated a $22 million loss. In fact, our net assets decreased by $22 million, largely as a result of fluctuations in the market value of our investment portfolio (61% of that decrease is accounted for by stock market fluctuations).
As I stated in my letter, we supported our FY 2016 operations, in part, with an $8.6 million budgeted allocation from our Breaking new Ground fund. Providing operating support for future years was precisely the purpose of the campaign when it was launched in FY 2012.