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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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Education Headlines
Labor Struggles at Metropolitan Opera Have a Past
Michael CooperThe New York Times
Now, after three relatively quiet decades, the Met is on the brink of its worst labor crisis in years: Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, is threatening to lock out the company’s orchestra, chorus, stage crews and other workers on Friday, endangering the coming opera season, if they do not agree to new contracts with cuts to their pay and benefits. The contracts for 15 unions at the Met expire on Thursday night.
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.
Metropolitan Opera Considers Mediation in Contract Talks
Jennifer MaloneyThe Wall Street Journal
The Metropolitan Opera has proposed bringing in a mediator to facilitate talks with two of its unions, a move that labor experts said could delay a lockout that management has threatened for Friday.
Artbound Wins L.A. Area Emmy for "Invisible Cities" Documentary
StaffKCET.org
On Saturday July 26, KCET's Artbound was awarded an L.A.-Area Emmy Award for Entertainment Programming for the documentary Invisible Cities: An Opera for Headphones, a one-hour special episode tracing the creation and performance of The Industry's avant-garde opera Invisible Cities.
L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky exiting as a champion of arts
Mark SwedLA Times
The five-term supervisor, who will leave office at the end of year because of term limits, has been singularly fearless among U.S. politicians as an arts advocate.
The Future of Classical Music
Diane RehmThe Diane Rehm Show
Classical music has thrived for centuries. But many say it is now facing its biggest challenges of all time, and risks becoming obsolete. Orchestras across the country face financial trouble, and there’s worry that the younger generations are connecting less and less with Brahms and Debussy. In response, many organizations are venturing into new musical and technological territory to attract loyal audiences…everything from intimate “living room” concerts organized on social media, to collaborations with pop and rock artists. A look at classical music’s place in society, and what’s in store for its future.
American Opera, Rising
Eileen CunniffeNonprofit Quarterly
Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed wrote a compelling piece last week exploring the state of opera in American cities and, notably, the increase in new American works of opera as a means of keeping the artistic discipline relevant and appealing to 21st-century American audiences. “The art form is not standing still,” he writes. “It’s growing, uncontrollably, by leaps and messy bounds.”
What is the Future of Arts Journalism?
Robert BettmannARTSblog
Arts journalism is changing rapidly. Newspaper coverage has shifted, and the number of blogs and small magazines covering the arts has grown exponentially. While it’s uncertain what the structural changes in arts journalism will mean for the arts over the next twenty years, changes are happening and affecting audience participation.
At Some Venues, iPads Take The Place Of Opera Glasses
Arun RathNPR
An experiment at a new production of Carmen has many wondering how technology will affect operagoers' experience. NPR's Arun Rath talks to Kim Witman, director of the Wolf Trap Opera.
Seattle Opera's Jenkins Looks Back At His Legacy, Including Making 'Colorblind’ Opera
Florangela DavilaKPLU
Speight Jenkins is stepping down as general director of Seattle Opera after 31 years. And among the things he’s most proud of are the productions of two successful Ring cycles, surviving the economic recession by not resorting to just producing popular operas and advancing the opportunities for African-American men.
Carlo Bergonzi, Masterful Operatic Tenor, Dies at 90
Margalit FoxThe New York TImes
Carlo Bergonzi, one of the 20th century’s most distinguished operatic tenors, renowned for the refined interpretive taste and keen musical intelligence he brought to his art, died on Friday in Milan. He was 90.
Orchestra Faults Met Chief’s Record as a Lockout Looms
Michael CooperThe New York Times
Facing a potential lockout that could halt work at the Metropolitan Opera when its labor contracts expire next week, representatives of the company’s orchestra sat down with the administration on Friday for their first across-the-table negotiating session since February. The meeting appeared to be less than harmonious.
What's the difference between an opera and a musical?
Tim WongThe Telegraph
The line between operas and musicals is blurring. Earlier this month the English National Opera announced that the company will team up with Michael Grade and Michael Linnit to stage musicals – on top of their regular programme of operas. Aside from making full use of the Coliseum round the year, ENO is hoping that musicals will form part of an "audience development programme", nurturing opera goers of the future.

Revenue, labor woes have Met Opera singing the blues
Theresa AgovinoCrain's New York
Those numbers, and the Met's deficit, are among some of the hard realities facing the company as it attempts to renegotiate contracts with its 15 unions. Many observers think a strike or lockout will occur, which could further damage the Met's shaky finances.
Opera's Old-Fashioned Race Problem
Gwynn GuilfordThe Atlantic
For the last two weekends, 38 white amateur performers in Seattle cinched up their obis and daubed on facepaint to perform The Mikado—standard fare for an operetta set on the fictional Japanese island Titipu where characters are given ridiculous names like Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum.
Hear Elmer Fudd Sing Opera for the First Time
John JurgensenThe Wall Street Journal
A rare outtake from a Warner Bros. recording session documents the birth of one of Elmer Fudd’s most-quoted lines, from 1957’s “What’s Opera, Doc?” That cartoon and a trove of behind-the-scenes material help anchor a new exhibition about the animation director Chuck Jones, opening Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
Georgian opera singer Tamar Iveri announces charity concert for gay rights
Andrew Pottgaystarnews.com
Opera singer Tamar Iveri was let go by Opera Australia and La Monnaie opera company of Brussels after a homophobic post appeared on her Facebook account, but she is now planning a charity concert for LGBTI rights in the Georgian capital.
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.
Is it soup yet? Andy Warhol opera in progress
Samantha MelamedPhiladelphia Inquirer
On May 2, John Miles began the evening swathed in blue plastic, belting out Velvet Underground lyrics, and quoting Andy Warhol ("Oh wow! Oh gee!") at a pop-up performance with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. At intermission, he left - and sped toward the Academy of Music in Friday evening traffic, to lend his baritone to the chorus in Opera Philadelphia's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Opera Begins Here – Exploring Cavalli’s Calisto
Evans MirageasWVXU Cincinnati
Jove, ruler of the gods, sets his sights on the beautiful nymph Calisto. But she—a devotee of the goddess Diana—is sworn to die a virgin. Undeterred, Jove hatches a plan to wend his way into her heart (and her bed) by donning a Diana-like disguise. But when Jove’s wife catches wind of the scheme, neither god nor mortal can know how far her fury will go.
Vancouver opera scene is on a roll
David Gordon DukeEdmonton Journal
With the premiere a few weeks ago of the Stokes/Atwood collaboration Pauline and the building hype about Weisensel and Koyczan’s forthcoming Stickboy, the Vancouver opera scene is on a roll. Although we will have to wait for it until next year, another new work is underway: the comic opera Choir Practice by the team — in life as in art — of Stephen Chatman and Tara Wohlberg.
Lyric Opera lifts the veil on its work-in-progress “Bel Canto”
Dennis PokowThe Classical Review
On Friday, the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented what it called a “Bel Canto Workshop” for some members of the media and a select group of donors in its William Mason rehearsal room.
Stalinist Opera Revived to Celebrate Crimea Takeover
Janos GerebenSan Francisco Classical Voice
On July 10, the St. Petersburg Opera Theater debuted Crimea, a new production based on a 1946 opera called The Sevastopolians by Marian Koval. Koval, who died in 1971, was a laureate of the prestigious Stalin Prize, and well known for his role in the Stalin-inspired campaign against fellow composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
How The 3 Tenors Sang The Hits And Changed The Game
Anastasia TsioulcasUALR Public Radio
The Three Tenors joined to conquer. When this trio of famous opera singers — José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti — gave a one-night-only show at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium on July 16, 1994, it was a massive spectacle watched by a billion people worldwide. More than that, the Three Tenors phenomenon permanently altered how a large amount of classical music is presented, packaged and sold.
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.
Opera in the modern world The lure of the old
E.H.B.Economist
Another opera season, another predictable La Traviata? Far from it, says Sir Mark Elder, the music director of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, who is conducting Verdi’s perennial favourite at this year's Glyndebourne festival. Well-researched performances can bring freshness to the most familiar works, he suggests. “I tell the singers, ‘if you get this bar right, it will be a world premiere’.”
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.
New Opera 'Red Death' To Premiere At KC Fringe Festival
Julie DeneshaKCUR.org
Edgar Allen Poe's 1842 short story "The Masque of the Red Death" serves as the inspiration for a new opera called "Red Death" that premieres next week in Kansas City, Mo.
Backstage Breakdown
James PaneroCity Journal
Labor troubles in the performing arts have often reached operatic proportions.
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?
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. 
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.
A cost-cutting San Diego Opera ready to regroup
David NgLA Times
San Diego Opera has reached a new level of stability, leaders say, after a series of cost-cutting and the announcement of new initiatives to broaden its presence in the community.
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.
The Met's "Klinghoffer" Problem
Alex RossThe New Yorker
For a little while, it seemed as though the controversy over John Adams’s 1991 opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer”—a dramatization of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, during which members of the Palestine Liberation Front murdered the Jewish-American businessman Leon Klinghoffer—was beginning to fade.... Last week, though, the brouhaha resumed. 
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.
Renée Fleming: Leading lady
Jeremy D. GoodwinThe Boston Globe
The afternoon of last year’s Super Bowl, Renée Fleming was in a familiar place — onstage at Boston’s Symphony Hall, performing a selection of arias in a Celebrity Series concert.
Justice Ginsburg on Law — and Opera
Jess BravinWashington Wire (WSJ)
Justice Ruth Bader visited to the Castleton Festival, a music and theater extravaganza the conductor Lorin Maazel and his wife, actress Dietlinde Maazel, hold at their 600-acre farm in rural Virginia. Justice Ginsburg presented for an audience of 138 a program mixing two of her passions, Law in Opera.
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.
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.

San Diego Opera and Dallas Opera to Co-Produce ‘Great Scott,’ a New Opera by Jake Heggie, Starring Joyce DiDonato
Louise BurtonClassicalite
San Diego Opera is a company that has seen its share of struggles. The story of its near death and resurrection has been one of the most closely followed stories in the music world this year--how a band of committed board members, staff and music lovers all worked together to successfully raise the funds necessary to ensure the company's survival.
In Ukraine, a night at the opera isn't just for adults
Sara Miller LlanaChristian 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 camp teaches life lessons to budding artists
Steven BrownHouston Chronicle
Houston Grand Opera’s Create an Opera summer camp lets kids shine on stage.

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.
Luca Francesconi: do you dare go to his opera?
Tom ServiceThe Guardian
It's violent, blasphemous, nihilistic and cynical. Composer Luca Francesconi tells Tom Service why his end-of-world opera Quartett is essential viewing.
40 Under 40: The Next Generation of Great Opera Singers
Fred PlotkinOperavore
I hear all too often that there are “no good singers nowadays.” Wrong! There are so many wonderful young artists around but, given how little opera is covered in the media apart from waistlines and waste of money, audiences have little guidance. With the recording industry scarcely involved in documenting the work of young artists, and DVDs becoming passé, the next generation is mostly invisible to audiences clamoring for talent.

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