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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.
Finance/General Operations Headlines
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.
SoundCloud introduces ads so it can pay musicians and other creators
Stuart DredgeThe Guardian
With 175 million monthly listeners, SoundCloud is the second biggest streaming music service in the world behind YouTube. Yet it hasn’t paid royalties to the creators and rightsholders of that music for their plays on its site and apps.
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.
Metropolitan Opera Forecasts 'Significantly Larger' Deficit This Year
Jennifer Maloney and Mike ChernyThe Wall Street Journal
The Metropolitan Opera expects its deficit for the fiscal year that ended July 31 to be "significantly larger" than last year's $2.8 million shortfall, according to a newly released financial-disclosure document.
The Longevity of Operatic Careers
Anna Knezevic and Mark KnezevicLinkedIn
The health of an opera singer's vocal chords is vital to the longevity of his or her career. Stressful overuse or improper technique causes burnout or early retirement. We usually hear of this in rock singing, where often singers are self-taught and learn to belt out high tunes, which while sounding impressive for the short term, can wreak havoc in the long term. The same is true for opera singers.
This Isn't Your Grandfather's Opera. And That's Just How the Mellon Foundation Likes It.
Mike ScutariInside Philanthropy
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given the Minnesota Opera's New Works Initiative (NWI) a $750,000 gift, signifying the completion of the first $7 million of the NWI fundraising campaign. This recent Mellon gift kickstarts phase two of the NWI, which will support the production of Stephen King's The Shining by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, as well as Dinner at Eight by William Bolcom and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman.
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.
The Future of Opera
Terry TeachoutThe Wall Street Journal
Terry Teachout explains why opera needn't be bound for extinction.
NYC Opera Strikes Deal To Stay In Control Of Sale Talks
Andrew ScurriaLaw360
A New York City Opera Inc. suitor agreed Wednesday that the current board should remain in charge of shopping the bankrupt institution, deferring an attempt to hand control of the sale process to a trustee and giving the board of directors the summer to negotiate with potential buyers.
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.
Improbable Tales: Nonprofit Gives Back $10 Million Grant (and $10M Match)
Ruth McCambridgeNonprofit Quarterly
When is a multimillion dollar grant not needed? When it locks you into a way of doing things that is either unsustainable or simply not ideal.
What Do Opera Singers Actually Get Paid?
Jennifer RiveraHuffington Post
There has been a lot of union activity lately in the opera world, and numbers have been thrown around in the press which have caused many an ear to perk up.
Financial Cautionary Tales for Nonprofits (Google+ Hangout)
Ruth McCambridge & Kate BarrNonprofit Quarterly
The sector is full of stories about how organizations got themselves in a world of financial hurt. Some of these situations are, of course less than perfectly predictable but some are foreseeable because they are so common. One of the most astute financial analysts in the sector joined Ruth McCambridge in an hour long discussion of familiar financial traps, and how best to immunize your organization against financial woes.
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.
English National Opera tightens reins as 58 groups lose Arts Council funding
Mark Brown and Mark TranThe Guardian
English National Opera is to have its regular public funding cut by £5m a year, one of the highest-profile losers in a high-stakes day of funding announcements that saw hundreds of England's arts organizations told of their settlements for the next three years.
Arizona Opera meets $1M challenge, erases debt
Cathalena E. BurchArizona Daily Star
Arizona Opera raised $500,000 in donations since May 1, matching a $500,000 gift from an anonymous donor as part of its second Million Dollar May blitz campaign.
Lyric Opera Baltimore scales back to one production and concerts for 2014-2015 season
Tim SmithThe Baltimore Sun
Lyric Opera Baltimore, which scaled back from three productions to two after its 2011-2012 inaugural season, is scaling back again. Only one staged work, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, will be presented during 2014-2015, the company's fourth season.
Lyric Opera [of Chicago] reports banner year for ticket sales, revenue, fundraising
John von RheinChicago Tribune
On Monday evening, Lyric Opera of Chicago announced significant increases in ticket sales, ticket revenue and fundraising in fiscal year 2014.

In 39th season, Opera Theatre of St. Louis shows good health, new work
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
This summer, Anne Midgette is traveling to several of the country’s leading opera festivals — St. Louis, Glimmerglass and Santa Fe — to evaluate how well they are doing in the current climate. A stop in St. Louis reveals that some of them are doing very well indeed.
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.
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.
Four Seasons picks up the baton for gourmet tailgating at the opera
Damon ScottAlbequerque Business First
The world-renowned Santa Fe Opera kicks off its season later this month and with it will come some pretty high-level tailgating opportunities. The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is offering a gourmet tailgate and backstage tour for guests and residents.
Getting Buy-In for Your Website Redesign
Kimberly HedgesARTSblog
Most projects start with the need to address a deficit, and redesigning a website is no exception. Your current website may not be serving your visitor’s needs, the content might read like a brochure or look dated, the layout of the site may make it hard to find the best content you have to offer, or maybe the design looks like it was built back when we still used DOS. (Well, maybe not that bad, but you know the feeling.) There is just no denying that your website could be doing more.
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.

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.
Chicago Opera Theater’s 40th Anniversary Gala raises $175,000
StaffOak Park Sun Times
The Chicago Opera Theater celebrated its 40th anniversary and 2014 season in the vineyard-inspired cocktail and dining hall of City Winery on April 24. The event attracted 120 guests who were inspired to raise a collective $175,000 through the live auction, raffle and paddle raise in support of the artistry, education and dedication to high-quality productions of rare and new opera that COT has upheld for 40 years.
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.
Grant to fund App Engaging Palm Beach Opera Fans
Jan SjostromPalm Beach Daily News
A $30,000 grant from OPERA America will support Palm Beach Opera as it develops an app that engages audience members in real-time. 
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?
Is Eventbrite’s New Reserved Seating Solution A Game Changer?
Drew McManusAdaptistration
Eventbrite, an online ticketing service provider, has come a long way since it launched in 2006 but the lack of reserved seating functionality has been a critical drawback that kept many nonprofit performing arts organizations from considering it as a serious ticketing solution. But all that changed on March 5, 2014 when Eventbrite launched a new reserved seating feature that, simply put, is pretty damn slick.
Cast owed £80,000 after tour takes only £126 in ticket sales
Nicola MerrifieldThe Stage News
Performers from a touring musical have been left tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket after the production ran into financial problems and was cancelled. Members of the 18-strong cast, creative team and crew of The Ultimate Show are claiming they are collectively owed about £80,000 in unpaid wages and expenses.
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.

Summer 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Summer Apprenticeships
  • Opera Tours for Board Members
  • My First Opera by Speight Jenkins
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