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Archive for Sunday, June 27, 2004

San Francisco Opera’s general director won’t renew contract

June 27, 2004

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— The first woman to become the general director of the San Francisco Opera announced Thursday that she won't renew her contract when it expires in two years.

The San Francisco Opera Assn. said it would immediately begin searching for a successor to Pamela Rosenberg, who has held the job for nearly three years. Her contract expires on July 31, 2006.

Rosenberg, 59, was known to want an expanded repertoire and more innovative productions. However, she was forced to cancel some of her plans because of the opera's budget woes. It ended its 2003 fiscal year with an operating deficit of $3.8 million. To make up for the shortfall, the opera trimmed the number of performances to nine this season, compared to 12 in 2002-2003.

In addition to a desire to focus on new productions, Rosenberg expressed concern about her separation from her children and grandchildren in Europe.

She also said she was a victim of her own success.

"I have been very instrumental in downsizing the company, restructuring the company to get to a really solid place again," she said in an interview.

Part of that strategy was to cut down the number of new productions to one a year, a move that Rosenberg said is good for the company but not for her.

"I set that model up ... but it's not for me at this stage in my personal life. It's not what I want to be doing," she said.

Rosenberg said the company was in good economic and artistic condition and that she expected donors to understand that "life here is continuing in a very exciting way."

Rosenberg was the American associate director of the Stuttgart Opera in Germany before joining the San Francisco company in August 2001.

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