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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
San Diego Opera Board Meeting Leads To Shake Up In Leadership
Angela Carone | KPBSinewsource.org
A meeting of the San Diego Opera’s board of directors Thursday resulted in a shakeup in the organization’s top leadership spots. Board President Karen Cohn walked out of the meeting along with a group of other members. Another board member told KPBS that Cohn had resigned. Board member Faye Wilson also walked out early, as did opera director Ian Campbell. According to sources who did not wish to be named, roughly 30 of the board’s 50 members remain active with the group.
Use Us
George Patrick McLearARTSblog
As we sat down with our Congressmen this past March during National Arts Advocacy Day, one message kept coming out of my mouth, “In my community, we don’t just ‘fund’ the arts, we use the arts.” I didn’t arrive in Washington with that phrase in my mind. I didn’t even think about it until after our “advocacy sessions,” the day before we visited Capitol Hill.

What alarms me the most about our annual trek to Capitol Hill is that our ask never seems to change— “We would like our Representative/Senator to support funding the NEA/Arts Education at this specific level.” We mention the ability to leverage the arts for economic impact, improve education, and make our lives more fulfilling, but at the end of the day we ask for money—either from the federal government or private citizens via tax policy shifts.
Plan In The Works To Save San Diego Opera
Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy PicoKPBS.org
The season is finished, and in two weeks the San Diego Opera is set to shutdown completely on April 29. That's the date the organization's board of directors set to cease operations. But at least two board members want to postpone and possibly avert the closing of the 49-year-old institution.
Robopera: Boerum Hill opera combines androids and arias
Megan RieszBrooklyn Daily
Bow down to your new robot opera-lords. On April 22, a Boerum Hill theater will play host to a one-act opera featuring a futuristic world chock-full of biomorphic androids who perform menial household duties and have sex on command. The production should inspire some laughs, said the show’s artistic director, but it is also deadly serious.
San Diego Opera explored rebranding in 2013
staffiNewssource
A web-based consumer study, commissioned by the San Diego Opera company last summer, found potential opera-goers want reasonably priced tickets and a more accessible and welcoming experience for patrons and their families.
Why did management at the San Diego Opera sit on valuable marketing information?
JW AugustABC 10 News: San Diego
It was called the Strategic Planning Committee and it was created to review all the pressing issues involving the San Diego Opera, issues like what was money being spent on, where it was spent and whether the marketing program made sense. All of this information was tightly controlled by the management team, in particular the woman numerous sources call the power behind the “throne” of the San Diego Opera, Faye Wilson.
Deals by the Incoming La Scala Chief Cause a Stir
Gaia Pianigiani and Rebecca SchmidThe New York Times
Alexander Pereira hasn’t even begun his first season as general manager of La Scala and his stewardship is already generating controversy. Mr. Pereira, who is scheduled to take over the Milan opera house on Oct. 1, signed an agreement to buy four productions for La Scala from the Salzburg Festival, where he is the director, without the approval of the Italian authorities, according to La Scala and the mayor of Milan.
Board Meeting Leads To Shake Up In San Diego Opera Leadership
Angela CaroneKPBS.org

There appears to have been a shake-up in the leadership of the San Diego Opera.

Karen Cohn, the chair of the opera board, walked out of a board meeting being held Thursday afternoon at a La Jolla hotel. Another board member told KPBS that she had resigned. Board member Faye Wilson also walked out early, as did opera director Ian Campbell.

Board pursues steps to save the opera
Pam KragenSan Diego Union-Tribune
At a chaotic board meeting in La Jolla, president Karen Cohn resigns, is replaced by Carol Lazier.
When Are You Over-the-Hill? Try Age 24
Candy SagonAARP Blog
Think you should worry about your brain slowing down post-age 50? Too late. It’s already started at age 24. Or at least that’s what a Canadian study of players of a hyper-competitive computer game has found. Apparently our cognitive motor skills — meaning the speed at which we process something and then react to it — peak by age 24, then begin to slowly diminish.
The Next Generation of Major Donors to Museums: Interview with David Gelles
Nina SimonMuseum 2.0
Last week's New York Times special section on museums featured a lead article by David Gelles on Wooing a New Generation of Museum Patrons. In the article, David discussed ways that several large art museums are working to attract major donors and board members in their 30s and 40s. The article both energized and frustrated me. I was excited to see coverage of an important issue of generational shift, but I was frustrated that it appeared to perpetuate traditional, clubbish standards of donor cultivation. I was curious to learn more about what was behind the article.
Unpaid Interns Gain the Right to Sue
Michael GrynbaumThe New York Times
Thousands of interns poised to flood New York City’s offices and institutions this summer may be unpaid. But come June, their legal standing will be improved. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday signed into law a measure intended to ensure that unpaid interns in the city will have the right to sue if they are harassed or discriminated against by an employer — a right, it turns out, that was not reflected in the city’s civil rights code.
Arianna Huffington on the Struggle to Find Work-Life Balance
Rachel GillettFast Company
Arianna Huffington believes we are living in a brave new world--today's work environment is somewhere between the dark ages and the renaissance. The dark ages, she says, include environments and a culture fueled by stress, but she maintains that in order for businesses and individuals to thrive we must transition to a "renaissance" time of mindful living and working.
9 Little-Known Google Tools You Should Be Using
Sam ColtPolicyMic
If you've explored Google, you know that it's much more than a search engine. With its wide range of extraordinary tools, Google is the backbone of the startup world, as entrepreneurs use these services to make their business rock. The great part is, so can you.
Could deal to save the opera be near?
Pam KragenSan Diego Union-Tribune
A sharply reduced budget, innovative programming and a list of donors who will step up if San Diego Opera’s current leaders are replaced might be enough to rescue the company from shutdown in two weeks, a board member said Tuesday. Carol Lazier, the San Diego Opera board member who pledged $1 million to save the company on April 4, said she and others will make that case to the full board on Thursday. She said she’s “hopeful” they can persuade the panel to grant a stay of execution.
Why Brainstorming Doesn't Work — And What You Should Do Instead
Elizabeth NicholasPolicyMic
There's a popular myth that getting people together and sharing ideas will boost productivity and lead to innovative solutions. But this old-fashioned way of thinking about groupwork isn't true. Brainstorming doesn't work.
Utah Opera Hosts 13th Annual Children's Opera Showcase Tonight
Opera News desk staffBroadwayWorld.com
Utah Opera will give local elementary school students a chance to take the spotlight to perform original operas in a professional theatre. The thirteenth annual Children's Opera Showcase will take place Tuesday, April 15, 2014, at 6:30 PM in the Jeanné Wagner Theatre located in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 West 300 South).
Nicole Paiement: The Bright New Force of Opera Parallèle
Lisa HoustonSan Francisco Classical Voice
At a time when many performing organizations are struggling to stay afloat, and others are closing their doors altogether, there’s a young company in town gaining momentum: Opera Parallèle (or OP). It has found that audiences appreciate the opportunity to see modern works that are rarely performed or brand new, with high musical standards and casts composed of world-class singers. The company’s success is a reflection of its founder, artistic director, and conductor Nicole Paiement’s commitment to taking contemporary opera to the wider audience she so deeply feels it deserves. Paiement is a guest conductor with companies such as Dallas Opera and Washington National Opera, and is on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and UC Santa Cruz. As the director of the Blueprint Series at the Conservatory, she is actively involved in the commission and execution of new works. Later this month, she will conduct a new production of a double bill of Kurt Weil’s Mahagonny Songspiel [(1927) and Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Terésias (1944) at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In June, the company will present the American premiere of Anya 17, by British composer Andrew Gorb, which contains a plot having to do with sex trafficking in the European Union. 
5 Myths About the Opera
Eduard SchmiegeVoice of San Diego
The future of the San Diego Opera hangs in the balance, and there’s been no shortage of speculation on the causes and implications of such a loss. But in reporting those circumstances, the media has helped perpetuate five myths, represented as facts. Let’s address them here, and dispense with them once and for all.
Opera Company Sings Out
Susan Hancewilmingtonbiz.com
Nancy King, opera singer and associate professor in the music department at University of North Carolina Wilmington along with Wendy and Jerry Fingerhut, transplanted New Yorkers and avid Metropolitan Opera fans, have started a grassroots effort to ensure Wilmington has its own performing opera company.
A first in 50 years, Opera to premiere ‘Morning Star’
Janelle GelfandCincinnati.com
Cincinnati Opera will present the world premiere of the opera “Morning Star,” with music by Ricky Ian Gordon and a libretto by William M. Hoffman, during the company’s 2015 Summer Festival.
Amid challenges, FW Opera still opens a daring festival
Scott CantrellDallas News
Quick: Which American opera company is daring enough to devote more than half its 2014 season to American operas composed in the last 25 years? Yes, that would be Fort Worth Opera, which opens its three-week 2014 festival Saturday at Bass Performance Hall. The four operas include the professional premiere of With Blood, With Ink, by composer Daniel Crozier and librettist Peter M. Krask, and the first regional presentation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night, by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell. Two “Frontiers” showcases will sample excerpts from additional new operas from the Americas.
San Diego Opera hires Mark Fabiani to handle crisis publicity
David NgLos Angeles Times
San Diego Opera has enlisted the spin expertise of Mark Fabiani -- the former deputy mayor of Los Angeles and former special counsel to President Bill Clinton -- to handle the company's public relations as it faces mounting criticism over its decision to shut down. A PR man with a long roster of prominent clients, Fabiani was an ascendant L.A. politician during the '80s. He served as the chief of staff under L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley and also took on the role of deputy mayor. Fabiani later served as special counsel to President Clinton, advising him on the Whitewater scandal and other matters.
Bored Assumptions about Boards and Fundraising
Laura ZabelSpringboard for the Arts Blog
Royal Opera House Warns Culture Secretary Sajid Javid Over Ticket Tout Support
Asa BennettHuffington Post UK
Culture secretary Sajid Javid is facing a growing backlash from arts and sports organisations over his praise for ticket touts as "classic entrepreneurs" who should be able to charge however much they want when they sell a ticket. A spokesman for the Royal Opera House said that ticket touts deprive the public of the chance to enjoy their shows by snapping up the cheap tickets they offer to sell on at much higher prices. "We receive a grant from the Arts Council to help make the Royal Opera House accessible to all. We have over 40% of our seats prices are less than £40," a spokesman told HuffPostUK.
Vienna Philharmonic: worthy winner of the Birgit Nilsson Prize
Rupert ChristiansenThe Telegraph
Endowed by the fortune left by the legendary Swedish dramatic soprano when she died in 2005, the Birgit Nilsson Prize grants an individual performer, production or institution $1 million for outstanding achievement in the field of classical music, with special emphasis on opera. It is the biggest single award to the arts anywhere in the world, delivered by the King of Sweden in Stockholm in October, and as such has been compared in prestige to the Nobel Prize.

I am the British representative on the international jury, and this year we have determined that the laurel should pass to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Although I am entirely in favour of this decision, I suspect that in certain quarters it will cause a degree of controversy or scepticism, on grounds which I hope I can briefly but firmly refute.
What Are They Thinking? Using Online Assessment Tools to Improve Board Behavior
Erin WagnerArts Management & Technology Laboratory - Carnegie Mellon
Many arts organizations want to improve the functionality of their boards. But it is impossible to know areas of board strength and weakness if the experiences and efforts of board members are not understood. And without that understanding, it is nearly impossible for an organization to discern the best course of action for board improvement. 
Soprano debuts in two Met Opera roles within day
AP staffRapid City Journal
Opolais on Saturday become the first singer in the Met's 131-year history to make two major role debuts within a day.
Opera union seeks injunction
Greg Moran and David GarrickU-T San Diego
The labor union that represents singers and chorus members at the San Diego Opera is asking a federal agency to get an injunction freezing the company’s assets so that union members with contracts can be paid. The move by the American Guild of Musical Artists came on the same day that a group trying to keep the San Diego Opera alive lobbied the City Council on Tuesday to help join the fight. “We’ve calculated that the total economic loss to the community of the closure of this company would be close to $7 million,” said Nic Reveles, the opera’s director for education and outreach.
Copland opera gets Aussie premiere
Lauren GarnetLimelight magazine.com

Melbourne's boutique opera company challenges the fine line between reality and theatre with new production.

Operatic Drama Swells in Labor Talks at the Met
Michael CooperThe New York Times
As the latest labor talks at the Met have gotten off to their most contentious start in decades, replete with colorfully threatening emails and emotions running nearly as high offstage as on, it is beginning to look as if a little presidential intervention might come in handy again.
Opera group lobbies SD council
David GarrickU-T San Diego
A group trying to keep the San Diego Opera alive lobbied the City Council on Tuesday to help join the fight. “We’ve calculated that the total economic loss to the community of the closure of this company would be close to $7 million,” said Nic Reveles, the opera’s director for education and outreach. Reveles is part of a group of employees, union members, vendors and supporters trying to persuade the opera board to reverse a March 19 decision to permanently close the opera on April 19 after 49 years. Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition circulated by the group, called the “White Knight Committee.”
Opera board member donates million
James ChuteU-T San Diego
San Diego Opera board member Carol Lazier is stepping up. The company announced late Friday that Lazier, who is already a $500,000 donor to the opera’s 2014 season, is giving the company $1 million to allow it to explore other options and “encourage the board to rescind the dissolution vote.” The San Diego Opera’s board of directors, which last month voted to close April 14 after the final performance of the 2014 season, voted last week to extend that deadline until April 29.
No Tutus, Please
Joan AcocellaThe New Yorker
The resurgence of ballet in opera.
You don’t have to work 100+ hours per week to be a great leader
Natasha Golinskyidealistcareers.org

If you’re a nonprofit leader working more than 40 hours per week, I want to stake a very bold claim – you’re working harder than you have to

Here are five things you can do right now to begin getting your life back under control.

The Business of Opera
Harold F. “Rick” Pitcairn IIBarron's
Running an opera has a lot in common with running a fixed income portfolio. That, at least, was one of the surprise lessons I picked up from Christopher Koelsch, the young, competent and impeccably dressed CEO of LA Opera. (Nickname: Mr. Prada.)
In London, Opera Stays in the Conversation
Fred PlotkinOperavore
Visits to this city are bracing because it is a place where ideas ferment and people seem engaged with culture as a means of understanding who they are. Opera always seems to be part of the conversation. I wish I could report that New Yorkers cared as much about it as people do here. London has fewer opera companies than New York and does not have the many intriguing little troupes we do, but more people seem aware of what is happening at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and the English National Opera, even if they are not operagoers themselves.
OPERA America Names Eight Grant Winners
Allan KozinnArtsBeat (The New York Times)
Late last year, Opera America set out to encourage women composers to write new operas, and offered incentives, by way of a two-year grant program, underwritten by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The organization announced the first group of recipients of its Opera Grants for Female Composers on Tuesday. Eight composers, and their proposed projects, were chosen from among 112 eligible applicants. Each will receive a $12,500 grant to help develop her opera.
Chew On This: Operatic Mastication
Susanne MentzerThe Huffington Post
Opera lovers have been on the edge of their proverbial seats waiting to hear the latest about yet another company having trouble.
Drama At The San Diego Opera Enters Second Act
Angela CaroneKPBS
Directors of the San Diego Opera will meet today to address mounting concern among some on the board that they did not have adequate information — including an investigation of the opera’s management tactics — before voting two weeks ago to shutter the venerable institution.
This Amazing Interactive Site Lets You Create Symphonies With Your Keyboard
Kyle Van HemertWired
The “portable animation and sound kit,” as creator Jono Brandel describes it, lets you conduct audiovisual symphonies simply by tapping your computer keyboard (or, if you’re on a phone or tablet, by tapping your touchscreen). Each letter of the alphabet gets mapped to a unique sound and a playful animation.
More women take charge in orchestra offices and on podiums
Sarah Bryan MillerSt. Louis Post-Dispatch
It’s not only women instrumentalists whose numbers have increased, says Polly Kahn, vice president for learning and leadership development at the League of American Orchestras, but women executives and conductors.
San Diego Opera votes to postpone closure
James Chute San Diego Union-Tribune
Following a nearly five-hour emergency meeting, the San Diego Opera’s board of directors voted Monday to stop the clock on the opera’s looming liquidation.
How to Appreciate an Evening at the Opera
StaffMental Floss
If you think going to the opera means listening to a Viking wail in a language you don’t understand for three boring hours, think again. Here’s how to go further and actually appreciate it.
Musical or Opera? Stage Companies Are Drawing on Both Art Forms
David BelcherThe New York Times
When the Chicago Lyric Opera approached the company controlling rights for Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals about staging their Big Five works, it might have quietly made history. By blurring the lines even further in a major opera company repertoire, the move hints at a turning point in how opera companies and symphonies stage American musicals alongside traditional blood-and-guts opera.
Gonzalez urges SD Opera to reconsider
James ChuteSan Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is supporting a petition drive asking the San Diego Opera’s board to reconsider its decision to cease operations at the end of its 2014 season.
San Diego Opera's Sudden Demise
Janos GerebenSan Francisco Classical Voice
Nobody outside the board of directors — voting 33 to 1 on March 19 for the dissolution of the San Diego Opera this summer — seems to have known that the future of company was in jeopardy. Reports say company members and San Diego Symphony musicians in the pit were stunned to learn of the decision.
Indianapolis Opera confirms cancellation, "challenges"
StaffIndianapolis Business Journal
The Indianapolis Opera said late Tuesday afternoon that it is canceling its fourth and final production of the season in the wake of "financial challenges."
What does it mean to be a ‘strategic’ arts manager?
Michael RushtonFor What It's Worth (ArtsJournal)
First, the manager thinks carefully about the goals she wishes her organization to achieve, whether profit or some other mission-related goals, and chooses the set of actions that will most effectively move the organization towards that goal. 
San Diego loses a major opera company: Could it happen in Chicago?
Lewis LazareChicago Business Journal
Seemingly without warning, the San Diego Opera collapsed last week. The 50-year-old opera company in America's eighth-largest city became the second major American opera company to close its doors within just the past year. The famed 70-year-old New York City Opera folded last fall.

Could it happen in Chicago too?

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
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