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After cutting its season short, Eugene Opera finds donor support

 Eugene Opera, which in January canceled the rest of its season amid a pile of unpaid bills, announced Wednesday that it has received $80,000 in challenge donations to help it get out of debt. The future of the 40-year-old company, though, remains unclear, as it will have to raise even more money to survive.

A group of supporters has pledged $60,000 to help erase the opera’s $160,000 debt — on the condition that the non-profit arts group find another $60,000 in matching donations. The money would be earmarked for paying existing debts to local artists, technicians and businesses.

Another donor has promised $20,000 to support the opera’s 2017-18 season, once again only if other donations match that amount.

Even if both challenges are fully met, the opera will have to raise more money to stay in business, and its path forward remains unclear. The opera held two town hall meetings at Eugene Library in February to tell supporters what its financial position is and to seek comment on what its future plans should be.

In January, the opera announced it was canceling a planned March production of West Side Story and a May production of Peter Brook's adaptation of Georges Bizet’s The Tragedy of Carmen.

“Eugene Opera is humbled and grateful to these benefactors,” General Director Mark Beudert said in a release on Wednesday.  “Our hope is that their generosity will inspire others to invest in Eugene Opera, so that we can meet our outstanding obligations.  If this happens, the company has a good chance of staying in business and continuing our mission of presenting great live opera for our community.”