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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
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Artistic & Production Administrators Headlines
BWW Previews: Mark Morris Prepares for World Premiere of ACIS AND GALATEA
Stephen RaskauskasBroadway World: Opera
This weekend, as we all overload on sugar and attend the obligatory Passion performance, Mark Morris is getting ready to unveil his latest opus. His new production of Handel's ACIS AND GALATEA, one of the most beloved English language operas, has its world premiere next week at Cal Performances, Berkeley (April 25 - 27), before traveling to Celebrity Series of Boston (May 15-18) for its East Coast premiere.
San Diego Opera Board Meeting Leads To Shake Up In Leadership
Angela Carone | KPBSinewsource.org
A meeting of the San Diego Opera’s board of directors Thursday resulted in a shakeup in the organization’s top leadership spots. Board President Karen Cohn walked out of the meeting along with a group of other members. Another board member told KPBS that Cohn had resigned. Board member Faye Wilson also walked out early, as did opera director Ian Campbell. According to sources who did not wish to be named, roughly 30 of the board’s 50 members remain active with the group.
Use Us
George Patrick McLearARTSblog
As we sat down with our Congressmen this past March during National Arts Advocacy Day, one message kept coming out of my mouth, “In my community, we don’t just ‘fund’ the arts, we use the arts.” I didn’t arrive in Washington with that phrase in my mind. I didn’t even think about it until after our “advocacy sessions,” the day before we visited Capitol Hill.

What alarms me the most about our annual trek to Capitol Hill is that our ask never seems to change— “We would like our Representative/Senator to support funding the NEA/Arts Education at this specific level.” We mention the ability to leverage the arts for economic impact, improve education, and make our lives more fulfilling, but at the end of the day we ask for money—either from the federal government or private citizens via tax policy shifts.
Ft. Sheridan girl lands understudy role in Lyric Opera’s ‘Sound of Music’
Linda BlaserLake Forester
Most 11-year-olds have busy after school schedules, but few involve rehearsing with the Lyric Opera of Chicago six days a week. Spunky Sophie Varones of Ft. Sheridan landed the role as understudy to Brigitta von Trapp in the Rodgers and Hammerstein family classic, “The Sound of Music,” which will be performed Friday, April 25, through Sunday, May 25. Her first professional performance is a dream for Sophie, who puts the world-famous musical at the top of her list of favorite movies. Before this, the fifth-grader at Lake Forest Country Day School acted locally with The Performer’s School in Highwood, The Music Theatre Company in Highland Park and at the Performing Arts Summer Theatre Academy in Lake Forest.
Plan In The Works To Save San Diego Opera
Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy PicoKPBS.org
The season is finished, and in two weeks the San Diego Opera is set to shutdown completely on April 29. That's the date the organization's board of directors set to cease operations. But at least two board members want to postpone and possibly avert the closing of the 49-year-old institution.
Robopera: Boerum Hill opera combines androids and arias
Megan RieszBrooklyn Daily
Bow down to your new robot opera-lords. On April 22, a Boerum Hill theater will play host to a one-act opera featuring a futuristic world chock-full of biomorphic androids who perform menial household duties and have sex on command. The production should inspire some laughs, said the show’s artistic director, but it is also deadly serious.
San Diego Opera explored rebranding in 2013
staffiNewssource
A web-based consumer study, commissioned by the San Diego Opera company last summer, found potential opera-goers want reasonably priced tickets and a more accessible and welcoming experience for patrons and their families.
Classical grad in experimental opera concert
Victor DeRubeisItemLive.com
Lynn Classical graduate Tyler Gioacchini will be singing in an opera tonight at Salem State University, and he has absolutely no idea how the story will turn out. That’s just fine with him, since he’s going to be among the pioneers of a musical experiment in which the audience will determine the plot and the outcome. It’s called #SSUBuildsAnOpera, and Gioacchini and his castmates will team up with the Salem State Chamber Orchestra and its conductor, Dr. Mary-Jo Grenfell, for an experience that’s believed to be the first of its kind anywhere.
Deals by the Incoming La Scala Chief Cause a Stir
Gaia Pianigiani and Rebecca SchmidThe New York Times
Alexander Pereira hasn’t even begun his first season as general manager of La Scala and his stewardship is already generating controversy. Mr. Pereira, who is scheduled to take over the Milan opera house on Oct. 1, signed an agreement to buy four productions for La Scala from the Salzburg Festival, where he is the director, without the approval of the Italian authorities, according to La Scala and the mayor of Milan.
Board Meeting Leads To Shake Up In San Diego Opera Leadership
Angela CaroneKPBS.org

There appears to have been a shake-up in the leadership of the San Diego Opera.

Karen Cohn, the chair of the opera board, walked out of a board meeting being held Thursday afternoon at a La Jolla hotel. Another board member told KPBS that she had resigned. Board member Faye Wilson also walked out early, as did opera director Ian Campbell.

Board pursues steps to save the opera
Pam KragenSan Diego Union-Tribune
At a chaotic board meeting in La Jolla, president Karen Cohn resigns, is replaced by Carol Lazier.
When Are You Over-the-Hill? Try Age 24
Candy SagonAARP Blog
Think you should worry about your brain slowing down post-age 50? Too late. It’s already started at age 24. Or at least that’s what a Canadian study of players of a hyper-competitive computer game has found. Apparently our cognitive motor skills — meaning the speed at which we process something and then react to it — peak by age 24, then begin to slowly diminish.
Arts Leadership and the Changing Social Contract
Emiko OnoARTSblog
Since I began working in the arts in 2001, there has been a subtle but constant pressure on the sector to transform that can be both distressing and motivating. I will never forget the time in 2003 when Mark O’Neill, then the Head of Museums and Galleries for the city of Glasgow (Scotland), described how a population of shipyard workers reported that they did not attend a nearby museum because the price of admission was too expensive. The nauseating twist was that the museum did not have an admission fee. Last week, this story came to mind again as I spoke with Susie Medak, managing director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre and an arts leader with more than 25 years of experience. Susie’s hypothesis—that the tacit social contract between society and arts organizations is changing—is one I have found to be incredibly useful. The premise of her theory is that it is no longer sufficient for arts organizations to provide distinctive work, attract an audience, and secure financial support—it needs to include wider swaths of people who are largely not involved.
Unpaid Interns Gain the Right to Sue
Michael GrynbaumThe New York Times
Thousands of interns poised to flood New York City’s offices and institutions this summer may be unpaid. But come June, their legal standing will be improved. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday signed into law a measure intended to ensure that unpaid interns in the city will have the right to sue if they are harassed or discriminated against by an employer — a right, it turns out, that was not reflected in the city’s civil rights code.
Arianna Huffington on the Struggle to Find Work-Life Balance
Rachel GillettFast Company
Arianna Huffington believes we are living in a brave new world--today's work environment is somewhere between the dark ages and the renaissance. The dark ages, she says, include environments and a culture fueled by stress, but she maintains that in order for businesses and individuals to thrive we must transition to a "renaissance" time of mindful living and working.
9 Little-Known Google Tools You Should Be Using
Sam ColtPolicyMic
If you've explored Google, you know that it's much more than a search engine. With its wide range of extraordinary tools, Google is the backbone of the startup world, as entrepreneurs use these services to make their business rock. The great part is, so can you.
Could deal to save the opera be near?
Pam KragenSan Diego Union-Tribune
A sharply reduced budget, innovative programming and a list of donors who will step up if San Diego Opera’s current leaders are replaced might be enough to rescue the company from shutdown in two weeks, a board member said Tuesday. Carol Lazier, the San Diego Opera board member who pledged $1 million to save the company on April 4, said she and others will make that case to the full board on Thursday. She said she’s “hopeful” they can persuade the panel to grant a stay of execution.
Opera production director a skilled mentor
Melissa DanielsTribLive
Jerry Sherk and Tara Kovach met behind the scenes at the opera. Then they fell in love over the phone.
He was the longtime stage manager for the San Francisco Opera. She was an assistant stage manager there for two seasons. When Kovach began a freelance career, traveling across the country, she called him almost every day.
Nicole Paiement: The Bright New Force of Opera Parallèle
Lisa HoustonSan Francisco Classical Voice
At a time when many performing organizations are struggling to stay afloat, and others are closing their doors altogether, there’s a young company in town gaining momentum: Opera Parallèle (or OP). It has found that audiences appreciate the opportunity to see modern works that are rarely performed or brand new, with high musical standards and casts composed of world-class singers. The company’s success is a reflection of its founder, artistic director, and conductor Nicole Paiement’s commitment to taking contemporary opera to the wider audience she so deeply feels it deserves. Paiement is a guest conductor with companies such as Dallas Opera and Washington National Opera, and is on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and UC Santa Cruz. As the director of the Blueprint Series at the Conservatory, she is actively involved in the commission and execution of new works. Later this month, she will conduct a new production of a double bill of Kurt Weil’s Mahagonny Songspiel [(1927) and Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Terésias (1944) at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In June, the company will present the American premiere of Anya 17, by British composer Andrew Gorb, which contains a plot having to do with sex trafficking in the European Union. 
Why It Doesn't Matter That You May Never Reach Inbox Zero
Laura VanderkamFast Company
I had this conversation again the other day: a woman shared her schedule with me, and I noted that she logged back on to work for at least 90 minutes each night. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but when I inquired what brilliant strategizing transpired during that second shift, I got a rueful reply: “I’m cleaning out my inbox.”

She asked how to process email more efficiently so she could move on to more enjoyable things. Unfortunately, I had no such tips. For starters, I have hundreds of unread emails in my inbox at any given time. Not only do I not file emails, I haven’t even figured out how to create folders.
A first in 50 years, Opera to premiere ‘Morning Star’
Janelle GelfandCincinnati.com
Cincinnati Opera will present the world premiere of the opera “Morning Star,” with music by Ricky Ian Gordon and a libretto by William M. Hoffman, during the company’s 2015 Summer Festival.
Unpaid Internships, or Getting Your Foot in the Door of the American Theater
Greg RedlawskHowlRound
In the wake of the death of a camera assistant on a film shoot in Georgia, there’s been plenty of reflection in the film industry regarding the conditions under which crew members perform their duties. I keep reading these articles and thinking about how it all relates to the theater world and, in particular, the nonprofit system of New York City. Our circumstances certainly aren’t identical to those in film, yet there are a lot of problems with entry-level positions in many aspects of our industry. We could do with a little reflection.
U-M professor wins OPERA America grant for female composers
Jenn McKeeMLive
OPERA America, a national service organization for opera, recently announced recipients for its new program, Opera Grants for Female Composers. From an eligible applicant pool of 112, a panel selected 8, and U-M composition professor Kristin Kuster made the cut for "Old Presque Isle" - a 75-minute opera written for female singer, six trumpets, two percussionists and men's chorus, with a libretto by poet Megan Levad (an English lecturer at U-M and assistant director of the Helen Zell Writers' Program). It is believed that the Old Presque Isle lighthouse is haunted, and although the bulb was deactivated in 1979, it continues to shine today.
KCAI students visit Lyric Opera
Jill ToyoshibaThe Kansas City Star
Kansas City Art Institute students in the "Drama of the Body" figure drawing class had the opportunity to visit the Lyric Opera to learn about the building of an opera Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014. Their May 9 final will feature drawings and paintings from source material on Die Fledermaus. Xiaolei McKean (from left), Nandi Harrison, Whitney Johnson and Allason Lewis photograph the score of the opera.
Former NFL defensive end stars in Knoxville Opera
StaffKansas City Entertainment
A former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens defensive end is singing one of the lead roles in the Knoxville Opera Company's production of Bellini's "Norma."

Ta'u Pupu'a studied music at Julliard after an injury ended his career in professional football. He will perform the role of Pollione on Friday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Sarasota Opera stays true to composer with Verdi bill
William LittlerTheStar.com
As far as I have been able to determine, Verdi’s Jérusalem has not been performed in Canada in all of the 167 years since its 1847 premiere in Paris. Come to think of it, it hasn’t been performed in most other countries either, at least since the 19th century, which is why music critics from around the continent converged on Florida recently for one of its extremely rare stagings by the world’s current leading producer of early Verdi, Sarasota Opera. No, I am not joking. By 2016, unless the gods intervene, Sarasota Opera will have become the first company anywhere to have produced every note Verdi wrote: all the operas in all their different versions (a total of 33), as well as all the Italian master’s nonoperatic music.

Amid challenges, FW Opera still opens a daring festival
Scott CantrellDallas News
Quick: Which American opera company is daring enough to devote more than half its 2014 season to American operas composed in the last 25 years? Yes, that would be Fort Worth Opera, which opens its three-week 2014 festival Saturday at Bass Performance Hall. The four operas include the professional premiere of With Blood, With Ink, by composer Daniel Crozier and librettist Peter M. Krask, and the first regional presentation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night, by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell. Two “Frontiers” showcases will sample excerpts from additional new operas from the Americas.
San Diego Opera hires Mark Fabiani to handle crisis publicity
David NgLos Angeles Times
San Diego Opera has enlisted the spin expertise of Mark Fabiani -- the former deputy mayor of Los Angeles and former special counsel to President Bill Clinton -- to handle the company's public relations as it faces mounting criticism over its decision to shut down. A PR man with a long roster of prominent clients, Fabiani was an ascendant L.A. politician during the '80s. He served as the chief of staff under L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley and also took on the role of deputy mayor. Fabiani later served as special counsel to President Clinton, advising him on the Whitewater scandal and other matters.
Do Recordings Kill Music?
Sasha Frere-JonesThe New Yorker
The musician and writer David Grubbs began his career far from the silence and mushrooms of John Cage, the musician, philosopher, and writer. As a teen-ager in Louisville, Grubbs formed the band Squirrel Bait, an organized explosion that converted punk rock into something twice its original size, more melodic and chaotic than earlier iterations. From there, Grubbs moved into a series of disparate bands, mostly playing music fairly far removed from the tendencies of rock. One long-running project that he conducted with Jim O’Rourke, Gastr del Sol, seemed like a collation of all the parts of sound that are deëmphasized on mainstream rock records: silence, dissonance, scrapes, and squeaks.
Returning to the Opera
Sean RyanHelsinki Times
Acclaimed choreographer Heinz Spoerli has adapted the famous Norwegian play Peer Gynt into a modern ballet classic. On stage at Finnish National Opera from 11 April until 16 May, the story tells of a young man who travels the world only to return home decades later after having many real and imaginary adventures to his Solveig. The play depicts the span of the human life, its dreams and its hopes, as well as its longing for home.
Vienna Philharmonic: worthy winner of the Birgit Nilsson Prize
Rupert ChristiansenThe Telegraph
Endowed by the fortune left by the legendary Swedish dramatic soprano when she died in 2005, the Birgit Nilsson Prize grants an individual performer, production or institution $1 million for outstanding achievement in the field of classical music, with special emphasis on opera. It is the biggest single award to the arts anywhere in the world, delivered by the King of Sweden in Stockholm in October, and as such has been compared in prestige to the Nobel Prize.

I am the British representative on the international jury, and this year we have determined that the laurel should pass to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Although I am entirely in favour of this decision, I suspect that in certain quarters it will cause a degree of controversy or scepticism, on grounds which I hope I can briefly but firmly refute.
Soprano debuts in two Met Opera roles within day
AP staffRapid City Journal
Opolais on Saturday become the first singer in the Met's 131-year history to make two major role debuts within a day.
A Voiceless Opera Based on French Literary Theory? Berkeley’s Got That
Kate McKinleyCal Alumni Association | UC Berkeley
For a young composer, it can be difficult not to seem derivative. The problem is getting beyond one’s background and influences. Caroline Shaw, who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for musical composition, faces this dilemma head-on. In her composition notes  she often explains which work formed the grounding of a piece. She acknowledges when inspiration for a piece came from Chopin or Hayden.
Remembering John Shirley-Quirk: the passing of a great British voice
Michael WhiteThe Telegraph
Within that community of English voices who defined the sound-world of Benjamin Britten from the 1960s onwards, one of the most admirable, eloquent and utterly distinctive was the bass-baritone of John Shirley-Quirk – who has just died at the age of 82, leaving very few now from that golden era still here to bear witness to it.
Opera's Mortier gets posthumous award from opera world
Michael RoddyReuters
Gerard Mortier, the Belgian opera director and administrator who died last month at the age of 70, has received a posthumous lifetime achievement award at the second annual International Opera Awards in London. Mortier "dedicated his life to bringing originality to opera and worked at three of the world's major operatic institutions, La Monnaie (Brussels), the Salzburg Festival and Opera National de Paris", said a statement issued by the award organizers after a ceremony on Monday night.
Why do people give Standing Ovations? We did a SURVEY to find out.
Ken DavenportThe Producer's Perspective
If you’ve seen a show lately, then I’d bet money that you’ve seen a Standing Ovation as well. They seem to be everywhere these days, don’t they?  I remember seeing them at every high school show I saw when I was a teen, and that trend took over Broadway as well. To be honest, I don’t really care if every show has a Standing ‘O’, as I wrote about a couple of years ago after John Simon e-screamed that the perfunctory elevated ovation should stop. But does every Broadway show really have a standing ovation?  And why are people standing up?  Do they really think the show deserves it?
Copland opera gets Aussie premiere
Lauren GarnetLimelight magazine.com

Melbourne's boutique opera company challenges the fine line between reality and theatre with new production.

Operatic Drama Swells in Labor Talks at the Met
Michael CooperThe New York Times
As the latest labor talks at the Met have gotten off to their most contentious start in decades, replete with colorfully threatening emails and emotions running nearly as high offstage as on, it is beginning to look as if a little presidential intervention might come in handy again.
Opera group lobbies SD council
David GarrickU-T San Diego
A group trying to keep the San Diego Opera alive lobbied the City Council on Tuesday to help join the fight. “We’ve calculated that the total economic loss to the community of the closure of this company would be close to $7 million,” said Nic Reveles, the opera’s director for education and outreach. Reveles is part of a group of employees, union members, vendors and supporters trying to persuade the opera board to reverse a March 19 decision to permanently close the opera on April 19 after 49 years. Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition circulated by the group, called the “White Knight Committee.”
The International Opera Awards: a reminder of a vibrant operatic scene
Ivan HewettThe Telegraph
When Dr Johnson described opera as "an irrational and exotic entertainment" he implied something else: opera is also vastly expensive. Nowadays it may be a touch less irrational, and isn’t always set on a magic island or in a Duke’s castle. Even so, it’s still expensive, and that means that in straitened and somewhat puritanical times opera, more than any other artistic form, is vulnerable to cutbacks. Some months ago New York City Opera collapsed, though it went down fighting by offering Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole as its final production, rather than a crowd-pleaser. Some weeks ago San Diego Opera threw in the towel and announced that it was going into voluntary liquidation, though it seems that decision is now on hold.
Peter Sellars on Gerard Mortier
Peter SellarsThe Rest is Noise
Gerard Mortier was a mercurial operatic visionary who transformed the art form—not with a particular production or body of work, but with an attitude. Wherever Gerard was and whatever he was doing, you knew it would be exciting. His imprimatur guaranteed challenge, engagement, pleasure, and the kind of adventure informed and made possible by profound conviction and deep connoisseurship.
No Tutus, Please
Joan AcocellaThe New Yorker
The resurgence of ballet in opera.
You don’t have to work 100+ hours per week to be a great leader
Natasha Golinskyidealistcareers.org

If you’re a nonprofit leader working more than 40 hours per week, I want to stake a very bold claim – you’re working harder than you have to

Here are five things you can do right now to begin getting your life back under control.

Fresh Meadows teen opera singer dreams big at the Met
Alex Robinson TimesLedger.com
Most teenage girls would rather dream of becoming Beyoncé than Maria Callas, but not Regina Fierro.
The 16-year-old Fresh Meadows junior recently took part in a four-day intensive program at the Metropolitan Opera for High School students, in the hope of one day becoming a professional opera singer.
Julian Anderson’s ‘Thebans’ at the English National Opera
Andrew ClarkFinancial Times
The sound of “Summertime”, one of Gershwin’s most famous tunes, wafts through the air from a piano in the hotel lounge. It’s hardly a conversation stopper, least of all when a classical composer is present, 
American opera singer wants judge to unseal grandfather’s adoption records so she can get Italian citizenship
Barbara RossNew York Daily News
An aspiring American opera singer hoping to perform regularly in Italy is asking a Manhattan judge to unseal her grandfather’s adoption records so she can prove that she is entitled to Italian citizenship.

Kenneth Rose, a San Diego lawyer, says in a petition to Manhattan Surrogate Court that his whole family could benefit professionally from dual citizenship, but especially his daughter, Jordanna, 24, who wants a professional career as an opera singer.

“There are far more opportunities for opera singers, and substantially more opera houses, in Italy and other European Union countries, than in the United States,” Rose says in an affidavit.
Opera divas 7 Sopranos at the IPAC
Joshua ButlerIllawarra Mercury
Reverie has been a year in the making and premieres at the IPAC on Saturday. This weekend will be something of a trial run for new performance technology. 

In place of traditionally cumbersome, lumbering physical sets and backdrops, digital screens and projections are used to fill the stage and add colour to the production. 

Ms Botsman said a former producer for the Sydney VIVID festival created the projections, modelled after new technology being trialled in the New York Metropolitan Opera.

"Nobody has done anything like this in Australia," Ms Botsman said.
The Business of Opera
Harold F. “Rick” Pitcairn IIBarron's
Running an opera has a lot in common with running a fixed income portfolio. That, at least, was one of the surprise lessons I picked up from Christopher Koelsch, the young, competent and impeccably dressed CEO of LA Opera. (Nickname: Mr. Prada.)
In London, Opera Stays in the Conversation
Fred PlotkinOperavore
Visits to this city are bracing because it is a place where ideas ferment and people seem engaged with culture as a means of understanding who they are. Opera always seems to be part of the conversation. I wish I could report that New Yorkers cared as much about it as people do here. London has fewer opera companies than New York and does not have the many intriguing little troupes we do, but more people seem aware of what is happening at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and the English National Opera, even if they are not operagoers themselves.
Does An Artist Need An Original Visa Approval Notice?
Brian Taylor Goldstein, Esq.Musical America
Question: Does a conductor who has been approved for an O-1 visa need to bring the original approval notice to the consulate or will a color scan of the original work? We have been getting conflicting information, including a representative at the consulate telling us on the phone that he would also need the original to enter the US. We are also concerned because when we try to schedule his appointment at the consulate we keep getting locked out of the system. Is this because we need the original or a different approval number than the one we have?

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
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