All Smiles: Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Reach Financial Milestones

As we have written about many times before, these aren’t the easiest years for classical musical organizations, from budget deficits to contract disputes to bankruptcy. But this week Dallas’ two major classical music organizations announced some milestones in their efforts to build towards the future on firm financial footing.

The first announcement came from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which has ratified a new 2-year contract with its musicians. The new contract raises base salaries for the musicians and also increases the flexibility with which various orchestra ensembles may be used. One of the goals of the new contract, according to a release, was to allow for more programming options outside the Meyerson and out in the community. It’s a step in the right direction, even if it doesn’t mean the DSO is out of the woods yet. From the release:

The DSO has improved its financial position, but a long-term structural deficit must be addressed. The organization must raise a significant amount of incremental operating and endowment capital to sustain its current artistic path.

Then the Dallas Opera had its own good news: under the guidance of CEO Keith Cerny, the opera  has its first balanced operating budget since 2005. You may remember that Cerny was brought in in 2010 to help right the opera’s financial ship. He cut the number of performances, restructured company operations, and embarked on an aggressive fundraising campaign. And those efforts seem to have paid off.

Of course now the question becomes, when will the opera start adding more productions to the shortened season? Cerny tells the Dallas Morning News he hopes to return to a five production season soon, and the 2014-2015 season is not yet set in stone.