April 6, 2014

Transcipt: A Recent San Diego Opera Board Meeting

A few stalwart San Diego Opera Board members.
Like many opera lovers, I have been following the developing story of the crisis at the San Diego Opera. Since my employers in Norfolk, Virginia have their own struggles with the economy to deal with, I can't help but think "There but for the grace of God...". While I am heartened by the recent news story of a San Diego board member stepping up with a $1,000,000 gift, I remain frustrated and mystified by the attitudes and actions of the Board in general in voting to close the company.

So here's something that can shed a little light on the situation. By means of my universally-acknowledged psychic powers, I have obtained a possibly verbatim transcript of a recent meeting of the beleaguered Board of Directors of the beleaguered San Diego Opera. The meeting was opened by the beleaguered Chairperson:

CHAIR: 
The meeting will come to order. Hmmm... it doesn't appear as though all the members are present. We should figure out who's missing... (stops to consider the situation) All those not in attendance, please signify by raising your hand. (No one does so.) Hey! Looks like I was wrong! I always thought we had more than this. I must be getting forgetful! Very well, let's proceed. The Secretary will read the minutes from the last meeting.

SECRETARY:
The meeting came to order at ten a.m. in the morning. Many wonderful members were present, which was so dedicated of them. It was pointed out that San Diego Grand Opera...

CHAIR:
I must interrupt you. The company's name is "San Diego Opera". Yes, it's true that our piece of resistance is Grand Opera, such as Don Pasquale, Porgy and Bess, and... wait - what's that weird one? Oh yes: Wozzeck. They are truly grand, aren't they? Especially when stars like Dolora Zajick and Placido Domingo come to our fair city to sing in them. But still, sweetie, "grand" isn't part of the name. Go on, dear.

SECRETARY:
Well, I think it should be part of the name. Maybe we could take a vote on that later, when we get to New Business. The public should realize how truly grand we are. Our costumes are grand. Our sets are grand. The orchestra is grand, especially the principal trumpet. Besides being really cute, he's as grand as they come. And...

CHAIR
(impatiently tapping her pencil) That will do. The Secretary shall conclude the reading of the minutes. Although I'm sure we are all in agreement. Proceed.

SECRETARY:
Anyways, it was noted that, thanks to the tireless work of we, the Board, and the amazing generosity of the people of San Diego, the company's budget has been balanced for the past 28 seasons.

ANOTHER MEMBER:
I move that we all declare "Hip hip hooray!" for this notable achievment.

CHAIR:
Is there a second?

SECRETARY:
Me! I second the motion!

CHAIR:
So moved. All in favor say "Aye".

EVERYONE:
AYE!

CHAIR:
The motion has carried. We, the Board, officially declare "Hip hip hooray!". About the budget thing. Now then: is there any new business?

A MEMBER:
Madame Chairperson, the Garden Committee has decided on tea-roses rather than daffodils as centerpieces for the annual Guild luncheon on June 11.

CHAIR:
Ask if they can get those peach-colored ones. Those are so lovely. Any other new business?

ANOTHER MEMBER:
The Artistic Department has announced the Grand operas for this coming season. In 2015. Next year. They are: La bohème, Don Giovanni, Nixon in China, and Tannhäuser. 

CHAIR:
Does anyone else feel kind of "meh" about the proposed season? I mean, La bohème"?. I believe San Diego is tired of this old war-horse. And while it's grand, very grand, I see that neither Placido Domingo nor Dolora Zajick is cast in it, which tells me that we're slipping. As a company. SLIPPING. And Mozart? There's not a single high C in the entire opera. Dullsville. And then this John Adams - he's obviously American, and I believe he's still living. I don't think that's what San Diego likes. And Wagner! I mean... REALLY, now. Gosh, it's all starting to seem... so pointless... so futile... so... so repetitive...

EVERYONE:
Sigh.

CHAIR:
Any other new business?

STILL ANOTHER MEMBER:
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Some idiot brought up those annoyingly stupid ideas again.

CHAIR:
You don't mean...

THE MEMBER WHO WAS JUST SPEAKING
Yes. "Flash mobs" and a revision to the San Diego Grand Opera Company policy about seating late arrivals.

CHAIR:
(in a beleaguered and reproving tone) What did I say? About our name?

THAT SAME MEMBER
Sorry, sorry - why is that so DANG HARD TO REMEMBER? Anyways, we still all think flash mobs are stupid, right? I mean, first of all, are they "Grand"? No. There's nothing grand about a shopping mall or a train station. Only opera houses are "grand". Second of all, people put flash mobs on YouTube. Is THAT what we want for Dolora Jajick? Put her on YouTube next to videos of cats playing basketball and trying to hump turtles?

ANOTHER MEMBER:
Wait - cats hump turtles?

CHAIR:
Let's stay on topic, another member. 

THE OTHER MEMBER WHO DOESN'T LIKE YOUTUBE
Anyways, about the late arrivals thing. How are people going to learn to allow enough time to travel here unless we make them miss up to 50% of the show they paid up to hundreds of dollars to enjoy? And if they get all ticked off and stomp out the door, never to return, well: doesn't that mean they're just not "our kind of people"?

CHAIR:
Absolutely, but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that this should have been brought up under "Old Business" since we've totally trashed both those ideas several times in the past.

THAT MEMBER
I forgot til just now. Sue me.

CHAIR:
Is there any actual new business to discuss?

ONE OF THE MEMBERS (IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER WHICH ONE, RIGHT?):
Yeah, Madame Chairpersonwoman, I hate to be a real buzz-kill here, but I have some news that's kind of a bummer. A downer. A rain-on-the-ol'-parade type of thing.

CHAIR:
Well, being on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Grand Opera isn't all rainbows and unicorns, you know.

EVERYBODY:
Hah! You said "San Diego Grand Opera"!!! Gotcha!

CHAIR:
Well now, don't I have egg on MY face! But moving on, let's hear that troubling New Business.

THE GUY WITH THE BAD NEWS (SO I SUPPOSE NOW IT MATTERS)
It appears unlikely that our budget will be balanced next season. We'll be a few million short.

CHAIR:
But... but... the budget has been balanced for the past 28 seasons!

BAD NEWS GUY:
I know, I know, but ticket sales are down and donations are down.

CHAIR:
In spite of our tireless work?

A MEMBER WE HADN'T HEARD FROM TIL NOW
Um, Madame Chairperson? About that... I don't know about everyone else, but... (gosh, this is awkward)... I'm a little tired actually. Of working. Of the Board thing. Of grand opera. I mean, once you've heard Dolora Zajick, you've heard her. Know what I mean? THERE! I said it!

CHAIR:
Does anyone else feel that way?

EVERYONE:
Yeah, we all do. THERE! We said it!

CHAIR:
Is there a motion on the floor?

MEMBER:
I move we shut 'er down. The whole doggone San Diego Grand Opera. Shut 'er down. Nip it in the bud. Close it. Bring down the curtain. Deep-six it. Adios, amigo. Toodle-oo. Don't let the green-room door hit ya in the butt on yer way out. Pack it in. Ciao, baby. Lock it up and throw away the key.

CHAIR:
Is there a second?

THE ONE WHO MENTIONED TEA-ROSES
I second the motion.

CHAIR:
All in favor?

EVERYONE EXCEPT ONE MEMBER:
AYE! AYE, AYE, AYE, AYE, A.Y.E.

ONE MEMBER
Wait! Shouldn't we table this motion until all the members have a chance to vote?

CHAIR:
You silly member! You'll recall at the beginning of this psychically-obtained transcript that we already determined everyone was present!

ONE MEMBER
(feeling very silly) Right. I forgot.

CHAIR:
The motion is carried. The San Diego Opera is now defunct. Any other new business? Wait - now I'm  the silly one! There can't be any more new business -- we're defunct!! The meeting is adjourned.

MEMBER:
Does this mean we won't need the tea-roses for the luncheon?

3 comments:

  1. Funny, my lizard powers smelled exactly the same thing, especially the roses.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I fear you have captured the beast.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rather like Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking glass.

    ReplyDelete