Cleveland Opera: The Case of the Incredible Shrinking Opera Company

Remember those 50 Ways to Kill an Opera Company?. Well, it looks like they’re working. Jeff Sodowsky, the executive director of Opera Cleveland, who was on the job for less than a year, has been axed. In fact, his entire position was eliminated, according to the Plain Dealer. Also gone is Judith Ryder, a dedicated employee who ran educational programs for the opera for 30 years. Just one season after its merger—a painful move that combined the old Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland—our largest local opera company is still having major financial problems. In addition to the layoffs, board leaders decided to shrink next year’s production count from five shows to three. Meanwhile, the future of the company remains uncertain. Sodowsky was heralded as a business-savvy pragmatist who might actually be able to save the sinking ship [“The Fat Lady’s Finale?” March 7]. Losing him can’t be pleasant, especially since the company has just hired a new artistic director, who may not be comforted by the mass exodus of his colleagues. -- Lisa Rab
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