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UPDATE: Opera confirms cancellation, 'challenges'

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The Indianapolis Opera said late Tuesday afternoon that it is canceling its fourth and final production of the season in the wake of "financial challenges."

The announcement confirmed a report published by IBJ on Tuesday morning.

Opera managers recently informed cast members that they would cut “Albert Herring,” set for April 25 through May 4 at the Basile Opera Center, from the season’s schedule, said several sources close to the opera, who spoke to IBJ on condition of anonymity.

In the statement issued Tuesday, opera officials said they "started the 2013-2014 season with a board-supported plan to return to producing four mainstage productions," but decided to not to risk "further financial strain" by "pushing forward with the final production of the year."

"Individual and corporate support for the arts has diminished," the opera said.

“While the decision to cancel the production was difficult, Indianapolis Opera is focused on the future and long-term health of the company,” General Manager Carol Baker said in a prepared statement. “We are blessed with a loyal, enthusiastic audience and a wonderful city, and we owe it to our community to be responsible stewards of the art form.”

The opera said ticket holders for the performances will be contacted with options for exchanges or refunds.

Opera officials said the group has spent the past eight months "strategizing, and adopted a multi-year plan for financial stability and sustainability."

"Since last season, the Opera board of directors has been working to address systemic and national trends in the opera business model," it said. "The board has faced the organization’s condition head on, and has already made significant strides towards achieving a solid future for the company with an aggressive business plan to move Indianapolis Opera towards sustainability in a rapidly changing economy. In the coming weeks, Indianapolis Opera will make a major announcement concerning this business plan and announce the 2014-2015 season."

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