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SPOTLIGHT: San Diego Arts

Classical Music

February 10, 1988|KENNETH HERMAN

The contract of Ian Campbell, general director of the San Diego Opera, has been extended an additional five years to June, 1993, opera board president Esther Burnham said. Campbell took over the leadership of the local company in July, 1983, after former director Tito Capobianco resigned over differences with the board. The board vote on Campbell's contract extension was unanimous, Burnham said.

During his first five years as director, Campbell eliminated the company's $750,000 debt and increased the number of season subscribers by 20%. He also trimmed the number of productions offered annually and kept the repertory on more familiar operatic turf. Despite such conservative measures, the company is still ranked in the top 10 American opera companies by both the National Endowment for the Arts and Opera America.

Campbell's public advocacy of opera through his radio programs and radio commercials is one of his trademarks. Delivered in his snappy Australian accent, his plug for the upcoming production of Gounod's "Faust" is vintage Campbell: "Come see San Diego Opera's 'Faust,' " he beckons. "You'll have a devil of a time!"

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