GENESEO – SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles discontinued Finger Lakes Opera (FLO) operations, effective immediately.
According to Battles’ campus-wide email on Nov. 11, challenges with finances and enrollment has made certain cutbacks necessary.
Until now, the FLO, which the College called in the past ‘the resident professional company,’ has only gained popularity. In 2015, FLO expanded to perform two performances instead of one. In the past, the College distributed numerous press releases to cultivate community interest and attendance.
Battles’ email is as follows:
“Last year, the campus community came together to work on a strategic plan that I believe lays out a clear path for our College’s future. Geneseo 2021: Seeing Beyond the Horizon provides us with a roadmap and focuses on our foremost priorities and goals. The strategic plan also presents us with the challenge of making choices about which initiatives will be pursued and which will not.
‘One of those tough choices relates to the continuation of College support for the Finger Lakes Opera (FLO). FLO began as a planning concept in 2011, leading to a one-night aria performance in summer 2013 and three subsequent summers of full production. SUNY Geneseo agreed to provide some initial support during FLO’s startup phase, and we have done so. However, producing high-quality professional opera is a very costly endeavor, and a feasible pathway toward financial sustainability has not materialized.
‘In my 2016 opening convocation address, I noted the range of financial challenges we face in achieving the College’s core mission and vision. We find ourselves in a vastly different financial and enrollment environment than we were even a few years ago. Geneseo 2021 will guide our response to those challenges, for which we will need every available resource at our disposal. Our overarching aim is and must be to ensure continued access to a Geneseo education and the rigorous and exemplary curriculum and transformational learning experiences for which we are known. So, it is with sincere regret that I announce that FLO operations will cease, effective immediately.
‘It was a difficult decision to make. I listened to a number of constituents and thoroughly weighed a range of factors before coming to this conclusion. Not least among those factors is the major campus infrastructure project set to begin in April 2017, which will result in significant disruption to central campus, including the primary venue for FLO, Wadsworth Auditorium. In addition to impacts to the physical landscape surrounding Wadsworth, core campus systems, including electrical, water, sewer, telecommunication, and heating and cooling, will be affected by the project, which is expected to extend through August 2018.
‘I am very grateful to FLO Artistic Director Gerard Floriano, Director of Outreach Programming/Executive Director – FLO Lisa Burns, members of the FLO Advisory Council, FLO donors and other participants for their passion, commitment, and support. While I know opera fans will miss having FLO productions on their cultural calendars, as I will, please know that the College will continue to look for sustainable ways to enhance our capacity as a public cultural resource.”