SAN DIEGO - It was called the Strategic Planning Committee and it was created to review all the pressing issues involving the San Diego Opera, issues like what was money being spent on, where it was spent and whether the marketing program made sense.
All of this information was tightly controlled by the management team, in particular the woman numerous sources call the power behind the “throne” of the San Diego Opera, Faye Wilson.
Wilson was instrumental in reappointing board president Karen Cohn after she fired the sitting president, Stacey Rosenberg. According to sources, Wilson told Rosenberg she “wasn’t presidential” in how she handled the board and its business.
After Cohn reassumed the presidency, the Strategic Planning Committee's role was greatly reduced. We have made repeated attempts to speak to Wilson and Rosenberg for this and other stories but they have not responded.
If Rosenberg had remained in place and the Strategic Planning Committee had continued to report on what it found, they might have released the marketing reports that were done at the request of management.
A review of those reports show the opera management’s marketing and production side were not in sync with what San Diego wanted. We have been told the board members, at least the numerous members we have spoken with, were never told about the marketing and what it revealed.
The research covers several years and covers a wide range of “branding” issues, as one of the surveys describes it.
For example, one of the surveys reveals which zip code has the most “potential patrons” and the answer was 92130 - Carmel Valley. The largest group of current patrons was zip code 92037 - La Jolla.
Other research from August, 2013 showed the audience preferred an opera of one to two hours long. Also, 46% of the responders thought that “reasonably priced tickets” were very important in their decision to attend the opera.
It was all information that might have been valuable to an enterprise trying to survive and possibly thrive.
Links to the Research
For More Background