13. February 2006 · Comments Off on Lots of Pop Tunes · Categories: imported, Ramble

There was an article in last Friday’s SJ Merc that talks about this current Opera San Jose production of La Bohème and the following five operas we’ll be doing. It’s true that we aren’t doing anything new or challenging to the audience’s ears. As Irene Dalis says in the article, “The next season might not seem innovative, but ‘innovative’ costs money.”

There are a variety of reasons that new operas costs so much money. First of all, a new opera can put off some audience members. So we lose those folks. Sometimes we lose them for a season, sometimes a few years, and sometimes forever. (When San Jose Symphony (RIP) did the 1975/76 season containing a whole lot of contemporary or near contemporary American music we lost a LOT of folks and received a number of angry letters.) Then there are the rental costs. I read a lot of blogs that push for new music and I wonder if any of these writers know just how expensive it is to rent these works. As a former music librarian I know one reason that so many orchestras do the old warhorses; they are in their libraries and won’t cost a bundle in rental fees. I don’t know if opera companies are charged the same way ballet companies are, but when I had to rent Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (one of my favorite works, and I get to do it following this opera run!) I was asked how many performances we’d be doing and what size our hall was. If I recall correctly we may have even been asked about ticket prices. The cost of R&J was unbelievable. Fnally, a new production requires extra rehearsals and all new sets.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t do new works and new productions. I think we should and I certainly hope we will, after we make it through next season. But according to Ms. Dalis, next year is the year we have to get through to know we are going to make it. So I guess a year of playing it safe is okay.

I just hope that the following, 2007-2008 season will include something new and exciting.

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