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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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Press Releases & Season Announcements
Would you like your press releases and announcements featured on the OPERA America website and in OperaLink? Submit the url to your announcement in the "Submit a Press Release" section. Press releases must be hosted on your own site or through a third-party site like Google Docs or PitchEngine. Please contact Patricia K. Johnson at PKJohnson@operaamerica.org with questions.
Please send all season announcements to Nicholas Wise (NWise@operaamerica.org), Communications and Publications Manager.
Board/Governance Headlines
$40 Million to Help Build Audiences in the Arts
Felicia R. LeeArtsBeat (NYT)
Most arts organizations these days are seeking ways to fill seats and to expand their audiences. On Wednesday, the Wallace Foundation will announce a $40 million effort to help performing arts organizations around the country do so.
The Met Set to Cut Millions
Jennifer MaloneyThe Wall Street Journal
The Metropolitan Opera's general manager, Peter Gelb, last week eliminated 22 administrative positions, or 9 percent of nonunion staff, and now must trim an additional $11.25 million from this year's operating budget — a reduction stipulated by an unusual agreement the Met struck with its unions in August.
'Massive' Klinghoffer Protest Planned for Met Opening Night
Susan ElliottMusical America
The “Coalition Against the Met Terror Opera” (CATO) has announced a “massive” protest scheduled for Sept. 22 starting at 4:30 p.m. It promises “thousands” on hand to declare their disgust with an “opera promoting terrorism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism.”  ...CATO is protesting John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, which opens Oct. 20.
Amid Choruses of Despair, an Aria of Hope
Adam NagourneyThe New York Times
Five months ago, San Diego Opera appeared on the brink of extinction after its board of directors, responding to the dismal economic and attendance news confronting opera companies from New York to San Francisco, voted overwhelmingly to close down after 49 years. But things did not work out that way. An unlikely coalition — opera buffs, labor unions, community leaders caught off guard by the threat of the company’s collapse and worried about the damage it would do to San Diego’s civic reputation — formed a rescue mission. 
At Home with Renée and Plácido
Michael CooperThe New York Times
...after a summer of armchair travels through the classical music world: Without removing my shoes at a single airport checkpoint, I was able to watch “Trauernacht,” Katie Mitchell’s somber modern staging of Bach cantatas in Aix, check out Anna Netrebko and a baritonal Plácido Domingo in the new production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” at Salzburg, and hear the rising young tenor Michael Fabiano sing Alfredo in Verdi’s “La Traviata” from Glyndebourne.
Met Opera, Remaining Unions Reach Contract Deals
Brian WiseOperavore
The Metropolitan Opera has now reached tentative labor agreements with all of its remaining unions. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) says the deal covers six unions representing several groups of workers, including camera operators, box office treasurers and scene artists and designers.
Metropolitan Opera Clears Last Major Hurdle in Labor Talks
Michael CooperThe New York Times
The Metropolitan Opera and the union representing its stagehands reached a contract deal early Wednesday morning, clearing the last major hurdle before the company could go ahead with its coming season of operas featuring murderously jealous lovers, dying sopranos and a fellow named Figaro — both before and after his marriage.
Opera Idaho elects new board members
StaffIdaho Business Review
Vicki Kreimeyer and Andrew Owczarek have been elected to the Opera Idaho board of directors.
Metropolitan Opera Extends Lockout Deadline
Jennifer MaloneyThe Wall Street Journal
The Metropolitan Opera has again extended its lockout deadline, postponing it by another week as an independent financial analyst completes his review of the company’s books, the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said.
In Final Hours, Metropolitan Opera Extends Contract Deadlines for Unions
Michael CooperThe New York Times
The Metropolitan Opera postponed a threatened lockout late on Thursday night, saying that it had done so at the request of a federal mediator who was brought in at the 11th hour to try to salvage its contract negotiations with the unions representing its orchestra and chorus.
Met Opera, unions extend contract talks
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
This is the most heartening progress yet in a negotiation period that has been conducted, throughout the summer, in the public eye. With blog posts, calls to the media, and a steady stream of press releases, both the unions and the Met have done their best to steer the discussion.
Lorin Maazel, an Intense and Enigmatic Conductor, Dies at 84
Allan KozinnThe New York Times
Lorin Maazel, a former child prodigy who went on to become the music director of the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and several other ensembles and companies around the world, and who was known for his incisive and sometimes extreme interpretations, died on Sunday at his home in Castleton, Va. He was 84.
12 Reasons Why You Should Gracefully Resign from a Nonprofit Board
Gene TakagiNonprofit Quarterly
Twelve reasons why you should resign from a nonprofit board.
Boards and Magical Thinking
StaffNonprofit Quarterly
As a consultant to nonprofits in situations of instability or turnaround, I have spent considerable time studying precisely how and at what point nonprofits begin to get in trouble. I have backtracked the specific history of several nonprofit case studies to identify where a wrong turn was taken. In most such cases, it was a board decision—quiet acquiescence or approval of a strategic direction that was not sufficiently challenged. Board members would likely not take such chances in their own enterprises.
On the State of Opera
Speight JenkinsOpera Sleuth
A lot of ink has recently been spilled about the demise of opera. Audiences are supposed to be drifting away; the number of subscribers is dwindling; people generally are not interested in our art form; all is gloomy, and opera has been described as being pushed off a precipice by public disdain and disinterest.
Revival Is on the Table for Bankrupt New York City Opera
Sara RandazzoThe Wall Street Journal
Could the curtain rise again at the New York City Opera? The shuttered institution, which closed its doors last fall after years of financial woes, could be revived in some fashion, according to two lawyers working on the opera’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
San Diego Opera cutting costs as part of effort to achieve stability
David NgLos Angeles Times
As San Diego Opera continues to regroup and work toward mounting its planned 2015 season, scheduled to begin in January, the company has put cost-cutting measures in place that are expected to help it achieve a measure of financial stability.
Critic's Notebook: A Predicament Right Out of a Melodramatic Opera
Mark SwedLA Times
When announcements for the next opera season began arriving early this year, the overall impression was that our country's companies were getting livelier if not yet up to the more progressive European model.

Los Angeles Opera, in particular, is coming out of an economic slump and once again beginning to look like an artistic leader. In an especially encouraging development, American — and new American — opera has become commonplace all over the land.
A Modern Opera: Fat Unions May Kill the Fat Lady
Eric GibsonThe Wall Street Journal
An epic confrontation is playing out at the Metropolitan Opera, only it isn't the familiar one between star-crossed lovers. The famed opera company, which opened its doors in 1883, is in a life-or-death negotiation with its unions—15 of them.

That's right, 15 labor unions, with more than 2,000 workers. Stripped of its high-culture context, the Met finds itself in a battle that sounds eerily similar to the fiscal realities many big-city mayors are now confronting when negotiating overtime, work rules and health-care benefits with sanitation workers. It's not entirely similar, though: The average singer in the Met's 80-person chorus makes between $145,000 and $200,000 annually. The curtain could fall at the end of July, when the Met's contract with 15 of its 16 unions expires.
Kentucky Opera secures next five years of leadership
Elizabeth KramerThe Courier-Journal

Kentucky Opera’s general director, David Roth, has renewed his contract for another five years, and Music Director and Principal Conductor Joseph Mechavich has signed a two-year contract. 

Opera Theatre of St. Louis sees subscription revenue, attendance rise
Angela MuellerSt. Louis Business Journal
Both subscription revenue and attendance have increased by 8.1 percent thus far this year at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, making 2014 the company’s highest grossing subscription season in five years.
Opera bigwigs share survival strategies in SF
David WiegandArts & Not (San Francisco Chronicle)
For a moment there, the opera folks gathered in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt for Friday’s opening session of the three-day national conference of Opera America were like a family assembled by the bedside of an ailing relative who’d just received a clean bill of health.
Opera Screenings Do Not Drive Actual Opera Attendance, Study Finds
Patrick von SychowskiCelluloid Junkie
A UK study just released has found that screening opera in cinemas is not boosting the interest to attend performances in actual opera venues. The research would seem to provide ammunition to those who claim that event cinema screenings of Met and Royal Opera House productions is cannibalizing audiences from regional opera productions and is not increasing interest in the art form as a whole. However, a careful reading of the findings and underlying numbers provides a more complex picture.
Opera screenings failing to boost interest in the art form, survey finds
Nicola MerrifieldThe Stage
Around 85% of audiences that attend live screenings of opera do not feel more compelled to see the art form live afterwards, according to a new survey. The investigation found that, after seeing an opera at the cinema, around 75% of participants reported feeling no different about attending a live production, with around 10% feeling less motivated.
The Opera Cocktail
StaffKitchen Riffs
The Opera Cocktail was a classic in pre-Prohibition days. And no wonder—its lightness and clean, crisp flavor make it the perfect palate cleanser before a summer dinner. We’ll be drinking it to celebrate the opening of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, a summer opera festival that runs from late May through late June. Tonight marks their second performance (Mozart’s The Magic Flute), and in June they’ll be presenting the world premiere of Gordon & Vavrek’s Twenty-Seven. More about all of this later.
Paris Opera and Ballet Productions Thrive in Movie Theaters
Celestine BohlenThe New York Times
Going to the opera is an event in Saint-Louis, a small French town of some 20,300 inhabitants nestled near both the Swiss and German borders. People get dressed up, they sip Champagne at intermission: Like operagoers everywhere, they are there to enjoy the occasion, as well as the performance. It doesn’t seem to matter that they are watching a screen in the 250-seat La Coupole movie theater. The performance is live, beamed directly from the Opéra Bastille or the Palais Garnier in Paris, with added features such as behind-the-scenes interviews and an opening introduction.

Boards Cannot Be Sacred, Staff Cannot Be Saints, and Founders Should Never Be Martyrs
Paul T. HoganNonprofit Quarterly
We who work in the nonprofit sector can be prone to just a bit of self-sanctification for ourselves and our cronies. After all, we sacrifice, we follow our passions, we are deeply committed and high-minded, we accept less pay—or no pay at all—and we give until we have almost nothing left. We are, by any measures we take of ourselves, better human beings than any who are not in our sector.
When Funds Go Missing, What Can You Do? What Must You Do?
Clifford PerlmanNonprofit Quarterly
One of the most difficult situations I’ve encountered while counseling nonprofit boards over the years is when they have discovered that the organization’s funds have been embezzled, most commonly by an insider. Two real-life situations are particularly noteworthy. In the first instance, the executive director stole more than a million dollars; in the second case, a former executive director and board member conspired to steal $4,000,000 from the organization. In each instance, the other board members approached me after the thefts had been discovered to ask about their fiduciary duties and potential personal liability.
How The Metropolitan Opera Could Go Dark This Summer
Dave JamiesonHuffington Post
Before the Metropolitan Opera began airing in high definition in theaters in 2006, Margot Therre's job in the opera's scenic department was a bit simpler. Back then, Therre and her colleagues designed scenes for a theoretical viewer seated about 200 feet from the stage. But with the advent of HD broadcasts, it was like the whole audience was sitting in the front row.
Are opera singers now to be judged on their looks not their voice?
Jennifer JohnstonThe Guardian
A storm of protest has erupted over critics' disparaging comments about a Glyndebourne singer's size and shape. If there is a line over which opera critics should not step, then it is into the realms of a singers' personal appearance, writes mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnston.
General operating funds, admin expenses, and why we nonprofits are our own worst enemies
Vu LeNonprofit With Balls
This week I was on an NDOA panel to discuss the importance of unrestricted funds. I was there with another nonprofit leader as well as two funders, and all of us, everyone in the room, agreed that general operating funds are awesome. General operating funds are like Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones, or Darryl Dixon of The Walking Dead, or, you know, Sophia from The Golden Girls: It is flexible, it is adaptable, and that’s why it gets stuff done.
Body shaming in opera: At what point is enough, enough?
Sarah Ann WalkerLimelight
Imagine for a moment that you’re walking down the street. Suddenly, you hear the most glorious music and the sound of singing coming from a house you’re about to walk past. You stand there listening and basking in this beautiful sound. Perhaps this voice, and music, sends you within yourself allowing visions and memories to arise. Eventually, a single tear rolls down your cheek as you submerse yourself in the moment.

As you peer in to see where the singing is coming from, you get a glimpse of the singer – a large woman. She isn’t what you thought she’d look like. She is nowhere near the ideal weight that society expects her to be. Has what you experienced just become less intense because she isn’t what you expected to see? Has the moment that she touched your soul been erased because she wasn’t a size 8?
San Diego opera has the cash. Is the announcement of a 2015 season imminent?
Soraya Nadia McDonaldThe Washington Post
Now that the San Diego Opera has safely passed the $2 million crowdfunding mark, the question is, will there be a 2015 season, and if so, when will it be announced? After 13 of its board members resigned, the new board of the San Diego Opera, which was slated to close April 29, voted to extend a fundraising deadline until today, May 19. The troubled opera has been trying to find ways to see its 50th season after the previous board voted to shutter it due to a lack of funds. It set a crowdfunding goal of $1 million, needed by May 19, which it reached 10 days early. The opera was also buttressed by a separate $1 million donation from Carol Lazier, the new board president.
It Is Deadline Day For San Diego Opera
Drew McManusAdaptistration
Today marks the self-imposed deadline for the San Diego Opera (SDO) to reach its fundraising goal in order to determine whether or not the organization will carry out a 2015 season. An announcement on that status is expected at some point later in the day (check back for updates) but they did make a statement late last week that the company has officially released General and Artistic Director and CEO Ian Campbell after placing him on paid administrative leave on 4/25/2013.
Alice Coote: An open letter to opera critics
Alice CooteSlipped Disc
The mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, who sings leading roles at the Met, Covent Garden and major concert halls and festivals, was outraged like many others at the slew of body insults hurled by British critics today at a young singer appearing at Glyndebourne.
San Diego Opera staying open
James ChuteSan Diego Union-Tribune
The curtain has gone back up on the San Diego Opera. The opera’s board of directors voted to rescind the board’s March 19 vote to shut down the company. “The public spoke, we listened, and we’re open for business,” said board president Carol Lazier in a statement. “And do we have some great news to share with you.”
San Diego Opera Will Not Close, Announces 2015 Season
Brian WiseOperavore
Two months after the San Diego Opera announced it would shut down at the end of its 2014 season, the company's board of directors voted on Friday to put on a 50th anniversary season next year. The opera company announced on Monday that it has raised $4.5 million, including more than $2.1 million in an Internet-based crowdfunding campaign.
A Life Beyond "Do What You Love"
Gordon MarinoThe New York Times
Student advisees often come to my office, rubbing their hands together, furrowing their brows and asking me to walk along with them as they ponder life after graduation. Just the other day, a sophomore made an appointment because he was worrying about whether he should become a doctor or a philosophy professor. A few minutes later, he nervously confessed that he had also thought of giving stand-up comedy a whirl. As an occupational counselor, my kneejerk reaction has always been, “What are you most passionate about?” Sometimes I‘d even go into a sermonette about how it is important to distinguish between what we think we are supposed to love and what we really love. But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?
Opera Glasses, Google Edition
Allan KozinnThe New York Times
Opera companies, particularly small experimental ones, have been toying in recent years with immersive performances, in which audiences and performers move through different spaces. Often, these have been new works in English, but for companies interested in reimagining the classic canon, one question regularly arises: How to give mobile audiences the supertitle translations to which they have become accustomed?
La Scala to Fire Incoming Director After One Season
Elisabetta PovoledoThe New York Times
In what Mayor Giuliano Pisapia described as an agonizing decision, the board of La Scala on Thursday voted to dismiss that opera theater’s incoming director general at the end of his first season, amid charges of a conflict of interest.
The Shed at the National Theatre sheds its name
Tim MastersBBC News
A new name is being sought for the National Theatre's temporary space which launched last year as The Shed. The Shed name was dropped at the end of April after the expiry of a licence agreement. The 220-seat auditorium - which has been likened to "an upside-down red wooden cow" - is now referred to by the NT as its "temporary theatre".
Opera singer struggles with speech after stroke
Eric JordanCNN
My life-threatening stroke occurred early on September 20, 2012. When I finally came to in the intensive care unit after receiving a mechanical thrombectomy device, I saw my wife. We cried together. Then the attending nurse drew the curtain and asked me if I knew what day it was.
The Paradox of Art as Work
A. O. ScottThe New York Times
There are few modern relationships as fraught as the one between art and money. Are they mortal enemies, secret lovers or perfect soul mates? Is the bond between them a source of pride or shame, a marriage of convenience or something tawdrier?

The way we habitually think and talk about these matters betrays a deep and venerable ambivalence. On one hand, art is imagined to exist in a realm of value that lies beyond and beneath mere economic considerations. The old phrase “starving artist” gestures toward an image that is both romantic and pathetic, of a person too pure, and also just too impractical, to make it in the world. When that person ceases to starve, he or she can always be labeled a sellout. You’re not supposed to be in it for the money.
6 Things You Don't Realize You Should Negotiate At Work
Nancy Mann JacksonFast Company
You already know the basics: Salary? You better be negotiating. Vacation? Also on the table. In fact, here are six things beyond your paycheck you can negotiate on the job, at pretty much any level.
Met Opera Orchestra Not Budging on Contracts as Strike is Authorized
StaffNY1
The Metropolitan Opera's orchestra could soon fall silent. The musicians with Local 802 have authorized a strike, should their current contract talks fail. The negotiations only recently got underway between the Met, the musicians and 15 other unions. Met officials are hopeful an agreement can be reached before contracts expire at the end of July.
Don’t Go to Work
Seth StevensonSlate
In 2003, Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson were developing new human resources guidelines at Best Buy, the electronics retailer, when they suggested a profound shift in the way the company managed its employees. They wondered what might happen if they granted workers 100 percent autonomy and expected of them 100 percent accountability. What if employees were judged solely on the work they did and not at all on the manner in which they did it? 
Behind the Scenes: Battling irritants in the theater
Jay HandelmanArts Sarasota
I was sitting in the Historic Asolo Theater recently watching one of the final performances of “4000 Miles” when a woman in front of me pulled out her cell phone. Maybe it was a mini-tablet, because it was about twice the size of my phone, and brighter, especially in the darkened auditorium. She typed something, scrolled through e-mails or messages, and then turned it off, turning her attention back to the play on stage.
Seattle Opera Director Speight Jenkins Takes A Bow
Marcie SillmanKUOW.org
Speight. That's the name that conjures Seattle Opera for tens of thousands of fans. His full name is Speight Jenkins, but most people know the Opera's longtime general director simply as Speight (rhymes with eight). Like the soccer player Pele, or Icelandic singer Bjork, sometimes one name says it all. "It used to fascinate my son when he'd walk along with me," he says, laughs.
Keeping Quiet About Wrongdoing at Nonprofits Only Makes Matters Worse
Ken Berger and Jeremy KohombanChronicle of Philanthropy
New momentum has been growing to create activist organizations that defend nonprofits from public attacks and from regulations and laws they believe would harm their operations.
New Course Explains IRS Election Laws
Nicole WallaceChronicle of Philanthropy
A new animated online course can help foundation officials and charity leaders navigate election-related tax laws.

Fall 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Are Women Different?
  • Preparing for Klinghoffer
  • Emerging Artists: Act One


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