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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.
Artistic & Production Administrators Headlines
Colorado Hiker Sings Opera to Calm Stalking Mountain Lion
Daniel XuOutdoor Hub
Can music soothe a savage beast? If you were to ask 40-year-old Kyra Kopenstonsky, she will tell you that it might have saved her from a cougar attack. Kopenstonsky was hiking a trail near Down Valley Park in Placerville, Colorado on Monday when she encountered a mountain lion. According to a report by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, the lion stalked the hiker for about 20 minutes, during which it would often jump forward and crouch whenever Kopenstonsky attempted to move backwards. She told deputies that when she first saw the animal, she picked up a large branch and attempted to look big. That did not seem to faze the cat, so Kopenstonsky said she did the next thing that came to her mind.
An Early Look at ‘JFK’ Opera
Allan Kozinn The New York Times (ArtsBeat)
David T. Little’s opera JFK, which looks at the 12 hours leading up to John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, is scheduled to have its world premiere at the Fort Worth Opera on April 23, 2016. But New Yorkers will be able to get an advance look in November. The American Lyric Theater, which is developing the score in a partnership with the Fort Worth company, will present a workshop performance of the opera-in-progress at Merkin Concert Hall on Nov. 25.
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.
‘Noli Me Tangere’ Filipino opera will tell moving tale at Kennedy Center
Celia WrenThe Washington Post
The title may translate as “Touch Me Not,” but a team of intrepid producers haven’t hesitated to tackle Noli Me Tangere, which has been called the first full-length Filipino opera composed in the Western operatic tradition. On Aug. 8 and 9, the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater will host two performances of Noli Me Tangere, a tale of love, intrigue and nationalism set in the Philippines during Spanish colonial rule. 
Google (Opera) Glass Makes Debut in Puccini’s Turandot in Italy
Eric SylversDigits (WSJ)
How do you get young people interested in opera? A better pair of opera glasses, of course. In what is being touted as a first, the opera house in Cagliari, the capital of the Italian island of Sardinia, will have some of its singers and musicians wear Google Glass Wednesday night when they perform Puccini’s Turandot, with the images from the digital devices sent in real time to the organization’s Facebook page.
A New Frontier Opera Transports 20th Century New York City to Present Day
StaffSundance
In October 2013, Joshua Frankel (Director) and Judd Greenstein (Composer) participated in the New Frontier Story Lab with the project Untitled Opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. This innovative opera explores the epic battles between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses over the future of New York City. From Jacobs’ victory in stopping Moses’ destruction of Washington Square Park, to Moses’ efforts to build the Lower Manhattan Expressway across SoHo, this work catalyzes an important conversation about what principles and values our generation will use in building, managing and sustaining urban spaces in the 21st Century. It is projected to premiere in 2016.
Secret Opera Explores the Lives of Two Famous Women Characters, Uninterrupted
George GrellaNew York Classical Review
The Secret Opera is one of the small, imaginative opera companies rapidly proliferating in New York City. They are nimble, make the most of limited resources, and present talented singers and new works that are outside the physical and financial scope of the Metropolitan Opera. Of these small, peripatetic companies, Secret Opera is one of the smallest. In the tiny Scholes Street Studio in Williamsburg Saturday night, they presented two monodramas by Daniel Felsenfeld, under the title She, After. Starring in each was the charismatic soprano Alexis Rodda, one of Secret Opera’s founding directors.


David Pogue makes opera debut at Wolf Trap with Google Glass in ‘Carmen’
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
At Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, David Pogue is going on stage in “Carmen” with a Google Glass headset, a small wearable computer, and broadcasting snippets of the onstage action to give the audience a sense of what it’s like to be out there under the lights.
The Future of Opera
Terry TeachoutThe Wall Street Journal
Terry Teachout explains why opera needn't be bound for extinction.
Opera Australia Announces Lianna Haroutounian as Replacement for Tamar Iveri
Staffbroadwayworld.com
Opera Australia announces their replacement for Tamar Iveri, the Georgian singer who was fired last week following Facebook comments she made in which she compared homosexuals with "faecal masses". Opera Australia, who describes Iveri's views as "unconscionable, released her from her contract to perform the role of Desdemona in their staging of Otello.
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.  
10 Things About Having an Opera Career That You Don't Learn in School
Jennifer RiveraHuffington Post
So you have a bachelors and a masters degree in... opera singing. Congratulations! According to about 85% of the population, you may as well have an advanced degree in underwater basket weaving. Now that you've done your upteenth young artist training program, it's time to venture out into the big bad world of classical singing. As someone who has been working in this industry for the past 15 years, I wanted to share with all of you some of the tidbits I wished someone had told me when I was starting out. Brace yourselves - it's not all pretty.
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.
Bicycle opera in gear for five-week tour
Trish CrawfordThe Star
There's a new kind of opera riding into town.
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.
Google Glass, Social Media Topics for Spark!
Janet Gramza Sightlines (USITT)
What place do Google Glass, social media, and smartphone apps have at live performances?
'A Streetcar Named Desire': Opera score gets new treatment
Joshua KosmanSFGate
Composer André Previn's operatic treatment of "A Streetcar Named Desire" has gone through some up-and-down cycles since its 1998 world premiere at the San Francisco Opera, which commissioned the piece under former General Director Lotfi Mansouri. There have been a few scattered productions over the intervening years, but it's never quite gained a solid foothold in the repertoire.
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.
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.
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.
I turned Google Glass into opera glasses
Adi Robertson The Verge

For On Site Opera’s latest project — an adaptation of Rameau's Pygmalion performed amidst wax statues and mannequins — it tested a new kind of translation, projected not on a wall but on the lens of Google Glass.

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. 

Pecan Summer: an opera for Indigenous Australia
Van BadhamAustralia Culture Blog
Pecan Summer was the first Aboriginal opera. Now, as it prepares to be staged for the fourth time in Adelaide, its composer Deborah Cheetham explains why it made such an impact.
The Dallas Opera and the San Diego Opera to Co-Produce 'Great Scott'
StaffBroadway World
The Dallas Opera proudly welcomes a co-producer, San Diego Opera, to the first major project in fourteen years by critically acclaimed American composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick) and Tony Award-winning playwright and librettist Terrence McNally (Master Class). Great Scott will star world-renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in her eagerly anticipated Dallas Opera debut.
Gertrude Stein Opera Finds Beauty in the Mundane
Jim DrydenDeceptive Cadence

Gertrude Stein was a big woman with a big ego. Her friends were big, important artists, like Picasso and Matisse. A new opera by composer Ricky Ian Gordon, best known for his acclaimed 2007 opera based on John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, takes place in Paris and gets its name, 27, from the street address where Stein and Alice B. Toklas hosted many of the greatest artists and writers of the early 20th Century.


In Ukraine, a night at the opera isn't just for adults
Sara Miller LlanaThe Christian Science Monitor
As an American, the Monitor's European bureau chief did not expect the audience at Kiev's opera house to be quite so youthful.
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.
‘Hannibal’ Is Becoming An Opera
Jonathan Barkan.Bloody Disgusting
Composer Sung Jin Hong (Breaking Bad) will be bringing the story of Hannibal to the big stage in the form of a serial opera in the 2014/2015 season. The opera will be performed by One World Symphony on unplugged acoustical instruments. There is no other information except for a short teaser video...
Opera awaits after battle with cancer
Kieran BanksThe Queensland Times
Two years ago Booval singing teacher Helen Coleman faced the prospect of never being able to speak again as she faced a battle with thyroid cancer. After doctors performed a thyroidectomy, Ms Coleman's once powerful and classically trained voice was reduced to just a whisper. But month by month and note by note during a challenging rehabilitation period, her voice has returned.
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.
Terry Gilliam's opera diary: 'We have a big head problem'
Terry GilliamThe Guardian
Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini is incoherent, bombastic and nigh on unperformable. The perfect project, then, for Terry Gilliam to direct. We asked him to keep a diary as he brought the work to the English National Opera stage. Strap in for a bumpy ride…
The Art of Setting the Senses on Edge
Anthony TommasiniThe New York Times
An often-quoted phrase from Milton’s “Comus,” a masque about the god of festivities, describes a roar that emerged from the woods and “fill’d the Air with barbarous dissonance.”

That poetic image pretty well sums up the general notion of dissonance in music: a barbarous, discordant, clashing combination of notes. But it’s not that simple. And the subtleties of musical dissonance have become harder to keep straight as the term has been increasingly embraced by other fields, like American politics, where reporters speak of the growing “dissonance” between the two major parties, or psychology, which invented the term cognitive dissonance to describe a state of stress arising from internal contradiction.

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.
Why Did A US Airways Pilot Not Allow Violins On A Charlotte Plane?
Carol JacksonWUNC 91.5
Two classical musicians tried to board a US Airways flight on Memorial Day. They were told that they were welcome, but their violins were not. Nicolas Kendall and Zachary De Pue are frequent flyers. They perform as part of the group Time for Three (Tf3.)  In recent weeks the trio has performed in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Indianapolis. They've always been able to bring their violins with them, in the cabin of the plane.
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.


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