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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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General Director Headlines
The Future of Opera
Terry TeachoutThe Wall Street Journal
Terry Teachout explains why opera needn't be bound for extinction.
Central City Opera to Focus on Touring
Marc ShulgoldColorado Public Radio
Central City Opera will travel to small cities and towns around Colorado with three little-known, one-act operas: The Prodigal Son, one of three church parables by English composer Benjamin Britten; Don Quixote and the Duchess by French composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier; and The Blind, a 1994 work by Russian-born American composer Lera Auerbach, written for an a cappella chorus of 12 who portray a group of stranded blind people.  
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.
Women in theatre: how the '2:1 problem' breaks down
Guardian/Elizabeth FreestoneThe Guardian
How well are women represented in theatre? New research by the Guardian in collaboration with Elizabeth Freestone shows a mixed picture.
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.
Distracted Diva: The Second Screen Goes to the Opera
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (The New York Times)
In June, On Site Opera presented a production of Rameau’s Pygmalion, at which operagoers were encouraged to use Google Glass, onto which a translation of the libretto was projected. The technology used to project the subtitles to Google Glass was created by Figaro Systems. Now Figaro is taking the next step: When the Wolf Trap Opera performs Bizet’s Carmen on July 25, Figaro and its MobiTxt technology will be on hand.
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.
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.
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.
Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven Gets an Operatic Tale
Brian WiseOperavore
As the music and literary worlds remember the life and career of Maya Angelou, another eminent American author and poet is drawing attention in New York this week. Like Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe was celebrated for the musicality of his prose, for the melodious lilt he brought to words inherently tense and gothic. His 1845 poem The Raven is a masterpiece of the supernatural, depicting a distraught man's descent into madness as he's tormented by the presence of a mysterious raven.
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.
Sex Workers’ Opera opens in Hackney
Emma BartholomewLondon24
Street corner prostitutes, high class escorts, web cam workers and porn stars have all helped write an opera which some of them will perform in Hackney tonight. The Sex Workers’ Opera, which will be staged at The Courtyard Theatre, has been devised through a series of community workshops backed by the Royal Opera House. At least half of the opera’s performers are sex workers but to ensure anonymity for all those who do not want to be “outed” in the media, the whole cast has promised not to keep schtum over whether they’re employed in the industry or not.
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.

The Juilliard School’s 109th Commencement Speech ~ Joyce DiDonato
Joyce DiDonatoYankeediva
I stand before you this morning, duly humbled, and in awe of the distinguished and hard-earned accomplishment awarded to each and every single one of you on this unforgettable and long-awaited day of your graduation. Look at you! You are gowned and tassled and you’re ready to take on the world! Through that first nerve-racking audition, all those subsequent sleepless nights, the painstaking preparation for your recitals, the endless hours of reed-making and memorization, the blisters and the tears, and now here you walk side by side with the life-long friendships you have now forged, you are about to be Alumni of the acclaimed Juilliard School! I invite you to breathe that in. You, my friends, are living the dream!
15 Cities for Creative 20-Somethings That Aren't New York or Los Angeles
Being an artist in America doesn't have to mean living in a shoebox on a coast with nothing but the pennies you make at your day job to support an artistic endeavor. Contrary to popular lore, the U.S. is home to many artistic cities aside from the requisite stops of New York and Los Angeles.
In theatre, fiction is being underrated
Lyn GardnerThe Guardian
One of the errors that verbatim theatre often makes is to conclude that because something is true, it is more interesting. Or rather, more interesting than something that has been made up. It's like those Hollywood movie openings that tell you the film you are about to see is "based on a true story". Why should that give it any more currency than a story that has been entirely made up and yet feels as if it's real – or more real than real? After all, imagination is the currency of all writers and theatre-makers.
Maintaining a Classical-­Music Miracle in Cleveland
Craig DuffThe New York Times
When Milton Maltz looked down from his box seat in Severance Hall — the stately home of the Cleveland Orchestra — he used to fear for its future. “I saw gray hair and no hair,” said the longtime orchestra benefactor. “And I said, ‘Where are the young people?’”
Postscript: on opera and the critics’ responsibility
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
I have already had my say about the case of Tara Erraught, the mezzo-soprano who was so soundly criticized for being “dumpy” in Glyndebourne’s new “Der Rosenkavalier.” But as the discussion continues to rage online, and the glee of the critic-bashers mounts, I feel the need to make three more points.
An opera singer’s backlash wasn’t just sexism
Mary Elizabeth WilliamsSalon
It’s not just about the sexism – but don’t worry, I’ll give you a little angry feminist ranting about that too. And this is more than about body shaming, though there’s plenty of that in the tale as well. But mostly, this is about arrogance and snark, and what that does to artists — and the aspiring artists watching them.
The famous Canadian author makes her first attempt at writing opera with Pauline
StaffWe Vancouver
We all know Margaret Atwood can write novels. Now, one of Canada’s most beloved writers tackles a new genre. Pauline is Atwood’s first attempt at writing an opera. The opera, with music by world-renowned composer, Tobin Stokes, tells the tale of Canadian writer, poet and actress Pauline Johnson.
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.
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.
Famous opera inspires tapestry for Theatre Royal
Phil MillerThe Herald Scotland
The painter was present for the "cutting off" ceremony at the Dovecot studios, Edinburgh, where the tapestry has been made for the last nine months. The tapestry, worked on by up to four weavers at any one time, is 18ft 4in by 13ft 9in and will decorate the new foyer of the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.Entitled Butterfly, it has been designed by Ms Watt, with the weaving led by Dovecot's Master Weaver, Naomi Robertson. The work will be installed in the theatre's new foyer this summer, hanging over three floors.
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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