Co. lays off 17, remaining workers get pay cuts

Los Angeles Opera has laid off 17 of its 100 workers and ordered a pay cut of as much as 8% from each remaining staffer’s salary.

The cuts were made due to a decline in donations amid the expense of the $30 million production of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle this year and next.

The cuts are expected to save the company, based at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, about a half-million dollars. The company is operating on a budget of $60 million for 2008-09; that will be reduced by $10 million next season.

L.A. Opera recently announced its 2009-10 season, which will include a citywide “Ring” festival but does not include the premiere of Daniel Catan’s “Il Postino” that had been planned. It will also reduce the number of performances to 48 from 64 this season.

During recent flush times, L.A. Opera expanded the number of productions in a season as well as the number of performances. As ticket sales cover only about 60% of expenses, the company does extensive fund-raising with individuals and corporations.

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