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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
Unpaid Artists, and All the Ways They Can Stay That Way
Jenna DouglasSchmopera
I came across two separate articles the other day, on the topic of artists working without pay. The first was this open letter to Oprah, written by Revolva, a professional hula hoop act and vaudeville performer. Apparently, Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend tour invited Revolva to work for their San Jose stop earlier this month. The catch: she’d be working for free.
Metropolitan Opera’s Deficit Swells to $22 Million
Michael CooperThe New York Times
The Metropolitan Opera’s deficit ballooned to an estimated $22 million last year, the company said Thursday, as weaker-than-expected contributions and ticket sales combined with expenses related to the company’s labor talks to create its most serious shortfall in decades.
OperaDelaware back on solid financial ground
Cathy CarterDelaware Public Media
Opera Delaware is reporting that it completed its 2014 fiscal year in the black. In January, the Wilmington based arts company announced it was revamping the organization in response to an 87 percent drop in corporate support. The company retooled their 70th season which included cancelling their Spring Opera, in favor of launching several scaled down performances.
Townsend and Fresno Grand opera companies to partner
Marijke RowlandThe Modesto Bee
In what is hoped will be a precedent-setting artistic partnership, Modesto’s Townsend Opera and the Fresno Grand Opera are joining forces. Matthew Buckman, the current Townsend general and artistic director, has been named the next general director of Fresno Grand Opera. He will serve as the head of both groups, merging the two companies’ production seasons to share costs and increase reach. Both companies will remain separate entities, with their own board of directors, but will produce the same operas moving forward.
Here's a startup idea: take opera, add beer, put it in Brooklyn
Daniel RobertsFortune.com
Not every opera company has the budget of The Metropolitan Opera. But smaller companies are earning crowds and buzz thanks to unique, alternative models in creative venues.
With renaming of Opera Center, extraordinary donor Margaret C. Winston finally gets her due
Lindsay ChristiansThe Cap Times
Finally, one of Madison's most generous "anonymous friends" has a name. Dr. Margaret Winston, a ground-breaking radiologist, world traveler, astute financial manager and deeply passionate supporter of the arts, lived most of her 86 years in Madison.

When she died on Sept. 12, she requested no obituary or memorial service. Born in Seattle and raised in the Twin Cities and the San Francisco Bay area, Winston never married or had children. Family members live on the West Coast.
Florida Grand Opera Ain't Over 'Till The Community Speaks
Lisann RamosLRN Miami/South Florida
The Florida Grand Opera is trying to stay afloat after years of decline. It hosted a series of town hall meetings this past weekend to reach out to the community for help. Since 2006, the opera has spent $19.4 million more than it has taken in. 
Florida Grand Opera hopes its own drama will have a happy ending
Jordan LevinMiami Herald
Founded in 1941, the FGO is South Florida’s (and Florida’s) oldest arts institution. Since its debut performance at Miami Senior High School (with founder Dr. Arturo Di Filippi in the title role of Pagliacci), it has welcomed musical stars — including Placido Domingo, Beverly Sills, and Luciano Pavarotti in his American debut. The group’s longevity speaks to its ability to appeal to generations of audiences through a multitude of cultural shifts.

But the past eight years have seen the opera on a steep financial slide that has brought its survival and artistic relevance into question. As the FGO prepares to launch its 74th season next week, with a production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, it has stripped its budget and staff to the bone. Now the troupe’s leaders say they must reverse the decline to ensure the company’s future.

Florida Grand Opera hosts public meetings
APThe News Tribune
Florida Grand Opera is hosting a series of town hall meetings to discuss the future of the arts organization. Opera officials say the company has completed a strategic planning process and wants to inform its patrons and the public about its plans for the future. General Director and CEO Susan Danis says the presentations will include music from some of the operas that will be featured in upcoming seasons.


Opera Theatre Closes Its Books On A Record-Setting Season
Patricia RiceSt. Louis Public Radio
In a year when opera companies nationwide still struggle with the effects of the Great Recession, and sadly the venerable once-innovative New York City Opera closed, St. Louis continues to support three professional opera companies.
Opera Star Joyce DiDonato Will Sing National Anthem at Game 7
Karen CrouseThe New York Times
The Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie was not the only person with Kansas City ties who spent Tuesday fervently hoping for the opportunity to perform on Wednesday at a World Series Game 7. The opera singer Joyce DiDonato, who grew up in Kansas City as an avid baseball fan, got the call from Major League Baseball to sing the national anthem for the game, should it be necessary.
Portland Opera makes dramatic move to summer seasons beginning in 2016: 'We want to avoid death by 1,000 paper cuts'
David StablerThe Oregonian
Portland Opera is planning to undergo the biggest change in its 50-year history. Beginning in 2016, the company will perform its entire season in a compressed, 12-week summer period.
Canadian Opera Company attendance numbers rise
Trish CrawfordThe Star
Audiences loved the Canadian Opera Company’s productions of Don Quichotte and La bohème last season, almost selling out both operas, the company announced Monday. The report of the 2013-2014 season presented to the COC’s annual general meeting celebrated an average audience capacity of 94 percent, up four percent from the previous year.
How Millennials Are Reshaping Charity And Online Giving
Elise HuNPR
Millennials are spending — and giving away their cash — a lot differently than previous generations, and that's changing the game for giving, and for the charities that depend on it.
San Diego Opera: Progress report
James ChuteSan Diego Union-Tribune
The reborn San Diego Opera continues to make strides. Here’s a progress report.
Met’s ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Remains a Lightning Rod
Michael CooperThe New York Times
As the Metropolitan Opera prepares to stage John Adams’s critically acclaimed 1991 opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” on Monday for the first time, it has become enmeshed in a vitriolic debate that often seems to have more to do with the polarizing politics of Israel and the Middle East than the oratorio-like opera its singers have been rehearsing.
Opera Lafayette celebrates 20th anniversary, and Rameau
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
This year is the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean-Philippe Rameau and the 20th anniversary of Opera Lafayette. It makes perfect sense that the one should celebrate the other. Opera Lafayette, which started in the Capitol Hill basement of its conductor, Ryan Brown, has turned into an internationally recognized company precisely because it performs work that hardly anyone else is doing. Rameau is one of the most important French composers, but you’re unlikely to see his work at the Washington National Opera or the Metropolitan Opera, compelling as much of his music may be.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera on Review for Downgrade
Michelle KaskeBloomberg
New York City’s Metropolitan Opera Association, the largest performing arts organization in the U.S., is under review for a downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited reduced revenue. Moody’s, which rates the Met’s $100 million of debt A3, seventh-highest, said the review “reflects softening in earned and gift revenue,” according to a report by analyst Dennis Gephardt.
Donation puts Houston Grand Opera near $165 million goal
StaffHouston Chronicle
Houston Grand Opera’s “Inspiring Performance” endowment campaign reached $163 million in contributions Tuesday, thanks to a $1 million gift from Ernest C. and Sarah Butler of Austin. The Butlers’ donation, which will sponsor the company’s chorus-master position, puts the multi-year endowment drive near the $165 million goal set for Dec. 31.
$40 Million to Help Build Audiences in the Arts
Felicia R. LeeArtsBeat (The New York Times)
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.
Migrating Maestros: Why Are So Many European Conductors Quitting?
Fred PlotkinOperavore
Last year, I wrote about long-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's negative impact on every aspect of Italian society, including the arts. Reform efforts after his departure came through a new law called Il Legge Valore Cultura, which was intended to strengthen and maintain monuments (such as the Coliseum) and the 14 important Italian opera houses, often called foundations. One of the stipulations of this law was to reduce the size of the boards of the theaters, which may have resulted in a reduction in fundraising potential precisely when more money has to be sought from private sources.
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.
Santa Fe Opera reports record fund-raising, second highest ticket revenues
Jackie JadrnakAlbuquerque Journal
More than 78,000 people attended performances at The Santa Fe Opera this summer, yielding $8.7 million in ticket sales, the second highest amount of ticket revenue collected in any season, according to Santa Fe's end-of-season report.
Sacramento classical music groups receive $1.1 million windfall from estate of former U.S. Forest Service worker
Edward OrtizThe Sacramento Bee
Three classical music organizations in the Sacramento region will share in a $1.1 million bequest from the late J. David Ramsey, a former U.S. Forest Service worker. It’s the most significant gift ever earmarked for classical music through the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, which has been overseeing such gifts since 1983.
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.

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


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