San Diego Opera has collected more than $1.14M in donations

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Opera has collected more than $1.14 million in donations as of Saturday toward the $2 million that the financially troubled company says it needs to raise to stay afloat for the 2015 season.

The opera's board of directors voted in March to cease its operations and sell its assets. But after employees and fans protested that decision, officials launched a $1 million fundraising campaign to keep the opera open past the proposed closing date, which had been pushed back to May 19.

The fundraising target was later doubled, with more than $1.14 million raised as of this evening, according to the opera's website.

On Friday, officials with the opera announced that two board members and an investment group called the Sopranos had put up $500,000 in a matching gift challenge.

"We made this challenge because we love the San Diego Opera and we believe it belongs in our community," Sopranos member Joan Henkelmann said, adding that the gift, along with community support, could help the opera reach its goal.

Board President Carol Lazier thanked the donors, which had numbered more than 1,600 on Friday, and called them the "lifeblood of the company."

"The response has been overwhelming," Lazier said. "Anything the community can contribute beyond the goal makes the company that much stronger."

Opera officials said they need to raise at least $6.5 million to support the 2015 season.

Tax deductible donations can be made online at, or by calling (619) 533-7000 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

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