Lyric Opera posts $22 million loss in “break-even year”
The Lyric Opera of Chicago notched a record $22.2 million loss for the current fiscal year on an $84.1 million annual budget.
Rather than announcing the results at a festive dinner and distributing details via email as in past years, the company silently posted the report on the Lyric website last week with no fanfare or media alert.
In sunny letters appended to the financials, neither board chairman David T. Ormesher nor general director, president and CEO Anthony Freud refer to the loss or, indeed, to any financial details at all. Despite the $22 million shortfall, Lyric CFO Roberta Lane referred to FY 2016 in her letter as a “breakeven year” for Lyric.
With net assets of $210 million and an endowment of $47 million, the company does not appear to be in any immediate danger. The $22.2 million loss was ameliorated with money from other sources–largely an $8.6 million draw from Lyric’s Breaking New Ground Fund, which was created for theater modernization and equipment and funding new productions.
Nearly half of the loss appears due to a vast drop in net pledge bequests and receivables of more than $10 million.
There was some good news in the numbers. Lyric saw a modest 3% rise in ticket sales and 4% in contributions. Operating revenue and support were also up 4% from 2015.
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