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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.
Donor/Trustee Headlines
Forward Motions: New York City Opera Seeks Auction Approval
Joseph ChecklerThe Wall Street Journal
Monday in Manhattan, New York City Opera Inc. will ask a judge to approve bidding procedures for an auction of the company, with a lead offer from an investor group led by Michael Capasso, general director of the Dicapo Opera Theatre.

The offer, which is likely to be challenged, is for $10,000 in cash plus the settling of $500,000 in debts and assumption of some liabilities.
Freud's goal: Keep Chicago's Lyric Opera relevant
Mike Silvermantucson.com
When Anthony Freud was 14, his favorite pastime was going to the opera in London and then, on the train ride home to Wimbledon where he lived with his parents, "dreaming about how I could do it better when I ran a company of my own some day." He's gotten his chance, not once but three times: first in Wales, then in Houston and now in Chicago, where he has been general director of the Lyric Opera since 2011.
Long Beach Opera Receives $30,000 NEA Grant For U.S. Premiere Of Marilyn Monroe Opera
StaffEverything Long Beach
Long Beach Opera (LBO) is thrilled to announce the award of $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). LBO is one of 917 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant, and the only organization from Long Beach represented on this year’s list of award recipients. The Artworks grant will support the U.S. premiere of Marilyn Forever by composer Gavin Bryars and librettist Marilyn Bowering.
Why is the Opera Theatre of St. Louis Flush With Cash?
Mike ScutariInside Philanthropy
Are you a struggling theatrical or musical production that's hemorrhaging money? We have a solution. Just follow the lead of your Broadway counterparts and have your rock star composer emerge from the shadows and take the lead role in the production.
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.
Year-End Fundraising: The Not-So-Magnificent Obsession
Simone JoyauxNonprofit Quarterly
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

That’s the sense of hysteria I get with all this talk of year-end fundraising.

I don’t mean to be contrarian. Wait. Yes, I do. If you know my work at all, I can be quite contrarian.

Here’s my perspective: I’m not much interested in talking about year-end fundraising.

I’m more interested in talking about all-year-long fundraising. Because if you’re focused on year-end fundraising (and not so focused on year-round), you’re in trouble.
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.
Grant boosts opera’s education programs
Jan SjostromPalm Beach Daily News
A few years ago, when Palm Beach Opera was being squeezed by the recession, it allowed its education programs to languish. That’s changing now, thanks to a $500,000 matching grant from Jupiter residents Sandra and Paul Goldner. The money will recharge initiatives that bring singers to schools for intimate concerts and Q&As, invite students to dress rehearsals and underwrite an apprentice program for high school students who plan to pursue a voice degree in college. All are free to participants.

De Blasio Blasts Giuliani For Protesting ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera
Ross BarkanNew York Observer
“I don’t want to judge something that I haven’t seen. I think that there’s a serious problem today in the world that has nothing to do with this opera. I’ve spoken about it many times,” he said. “There’s an anti-Semitism problem in this world today, particularly in Western Europe that worries me greatly. That’s where my focus is.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scaling the Wall: 5 Ways to Get Unsolicited Proposals Heard
Rick CohenNonprofit Quarterly
Philanthropy is, increasingly, a world of insiders. How many foundation websites explain in no uncertain terms that they do not accept unsolicited proposals, or even unsolicited letters of interest? For nonprofits that aren’t already in the foundations’ circles or don’t socialize with the foundation leaders and staff, it looks and feels like an impenetrable, unscalable, concrete wall. 
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.
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.
Wounded Warrior CEO Rips Rating Systems as ‘Ineffective and Misinformed’
Megan O'NeillChronicle of Philanthropy
Ratings systems by groups like Navigator and Charity Watch are at best "horribly ineffective and misinformed" and at worst "outright misleading the public," says the chief executive of a fast-growing veterans nonprofit.
Video: Foundations Reveal What They Look for in Grant Proposals
Idit Knaan & Megan O'NeillChronicle of Philanthropy
What are grant makers looking for in proposals?

In this video, shot at the Council on Foundation's recent annual conference in Washington, officials from the Walmart Foundation, Ford Foundation, Berks County Community Foundation, the Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Foundation, and the Minnesota Council on Foundations discuss the characteristics that make a grant proposal grab their attention and move to the top of the pile.
Who is Creative Placemaking? New Music, Integrity, and Community
Daniel Siepmann NewMusicBox
Daniel Siepmann examines the relationship between new music and placemaking – a new approach to contemporary arts funding that purports to culturally and economically reinvigorate American places through the arts. 
Cincinnati Opera is going mobile
Mike SarasonSoapbox Cincinnati
Cincinnati Opera has embarked on a new and innovative project called the Opera Express, thanks to a $50,000 Revolutionary Grant from OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program.
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.
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.

Online Fundraising Goes Mainstream
Alex Daniels, Anu NarayanswamyThe Chronicle of Philanthropy
Online giving is still growing, but triple-digit annual increases are a thing of the past.
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.
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.

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.

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


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