18. November 2013 · Comments Off on Opera Woes · Categories: Opera, Read Online

Alex Ross has an article in the New Yorker that includes this:

Professional worriers in the classical business have portrayed the Minnesota and the City Opera situations as symptoms of a systemic disease. To be sure, many other institutions find themselves on shaky footing. The Brooklyn Philharmonic, which has been struggling for years, currently has no staff. More than a few opera companies have scaled back their schedules and ambitions. But other organizations are in surprisingly robust shape. The Chicago Symphony reported a record year of attendance and fund-raising. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is basking in wealth and thriving on innovation. The Cleveland Orchestra has increased revenue by attracting thousands of students to its concerts. And the Detroit Symphony is gradually rebounding from a fractious labor dispute a few seasons back, even as the city contemplates selling off some of its art collection. The Great Recession drew a clear line between soundly run groups and the rest.

I have always thought of “my” opera company as soundly run, but yesterday afternoon I was dismayed to learn, via a pre-opera lecture, that next year we will have only one cast for each opera, two fewer rehearsals and two fewer performances. This amounts, for the orchestra, to a loss of what would equal an entire opera run. I was so sad to hear it, and I was sadder still to realize that the audience was learning of our fate before we had been informed. Sad, sad stuff. I had always thought Opera San José would be the last job from which I would retire. I am going to have to rethink the plan I guess. Heartbreaking.

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