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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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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.
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General Director Headlines
'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. 
AFM President Blasts NFL Super Bowl Halftime Kickback Scheme
Antoinette FollettAmerican Federation of Musicians
In what could be deemed the most colossal pay to play scheme ever, the National Football League (NFL) has reportedly asked potential Super Bowl halftime performers if they would be willing to pay the league to play at its big game.
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.
Metropolitan Opera and Two Unions Reach a Tentative Deal
Michael CooperThe New York Times
The Metropolitan Opera reached tentative agreements early Monday morning with the unions representing its orchestra and chorus after an all-night bargaining session, and called off its threat to lock out workers a little more than a month before the new season is set to open.
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.
Peggy Dye gives Opera Columbus reason to sing
Nancy GilsonThe Columbus Dispatch
In her third year leading Opera Columbus, Peggy Dye — also a lyric soprano — is on a mission to make her beloved art form relevant and popular with audiences of all ages but especially the young.
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.
Speight Jenkins recalls 31 years of Seattle Opera highs, lows
Melinda BargreenThe Seattle Times
You can’t run an opera company without a few mishaps and a lot of memorable moments. Seattle Opera’s retiring general director, Speight Jenkins, shares a few of each from his 31 years in the job.
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
elyssa goldbergPolicyMic.com
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.

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


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