San Diegans gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday at the San Diego Opera – not to mourn the death of any characters, but to mourn the death of the opera itself.
Sunday’s matinee sold-out performance of "Don Quixote" marks the last time the opera will take the Civic Center stage.
Opera supporters wanted to make the final day a memorable one. They asked people to bring candles, flowers and chalk to sign their names on the ground after the performance ended around 4 p.m. One woman dressed as the Grim Reaper.
"It's been a whole rollercoaster of emotions from the moment I woke up," said stage director Keturah Stickann. "It's confusion, it's upset, it's sadness, and then I decided I was going to show up here in the plaza with hope, so that's where I'm at right now."
Others are also holding out hope to turn this show into the last one of the season, not the last one for all time.
They are planning ways to shift the organization to salvage it and create work for years to come.
"I think these are very smart people and I think they have a lot of good ideas, and I think together, they will find a way to keep opera happening in San Diego," said Stickann.
There has been controversy surrounding the opera's longtime General and Artistic Director Ian Campbell and his $500,000 salary.
Campbell would not talk to NBC 7 on Sunday, but many believe he wants to close now instead of taking a pay concession or face bankruptcy, which could potentially leave him with nothing.
"Right now, the only contracts left are his, Ann's (Campbell's ex-wife) and some soloists. If we go through bankruptcy, those are all gone. He actually has the most to gain through us closing down because then they can get in line as creditors and collect from the assets, and then he can be paid his full contract through the end of 2017," chorus member Chris Stephens said.
But not everyone agrees.
"We had a recession. Ian kept it going. He can't do miracles by himself. Enough," supporter Mark Meyer said.
On Friday, the San Diego Opera board confirmed that the closure is set to move forward as planned, despite strong opposition to the decision that was first announced on March 19.
They cited a lack of funding as the reason for the final curtain call, and at least $10 million must be raised to take the opera into its 50th season.
If nothing changes in the next couple of weeks, the opera will be shuttered April 29.
The opera board is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Thursday, so supporters are holding out hope.