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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.
Please send all season announcements to Nicholas Wise (NWise@operaamerica.org), Communications and Publications Manager.
General Director Headlines
Behind the scenes at the Portland Opera's costume department (Photos)
Andy Giegerich and Cathy CheneyPortland Business Journal

This week's Portland Business Journal features a glimpse at the Portland Opera's plans to convert its programming to a summer festival format.

Which means that, yup, the Opera will compress its season, now held between September and May, into a three-month period. It will feature shows at both the Newmark and Keller venues.

Opera Review of 2014: the start of opera becoming the domain of the elite?
Rupert ChristiansenThe Telegraph
Until this year, opera in Britain has resisted the pressures of the economic crisis surprisingly well. But in recent months, ominous creaking noises have indicated some very deep rot developing beneath the plastered surface.

A large part of the problem, ironically, is the burgeoning of a new audience – one that is diminishing the operatic economy even as it replenishes it. This phenomenon is largely made up of older people, mostly living outside central London, who toddle along to the local cinema where for about £20 they can see star-studded broadcasts live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, projected with super-duper HD sound and picture quality, gift-wrapped with glimpses backstage and interviews with the performers.
Just Asking: Opera singer Soloman Howard on the football field vs. the stage
Joe HeimWashington Post

Soloman Howard, 33, is a graduate of the Washington National Opera’sDomingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. He was born in Washington and now lives in Shirlington.

What question about being an opera singer are you tired of hearing?

When I tell people I sing opera, they say, “Why? There’s so many things you could have done. Why opera?” Well, that’s what my gift is. People will say opera’s boring. And I’ll say, “Have you ever really experienced the grandeur of opera on a large scale?”And most of them have never been to an opera to know how emotional it can be and how it encompasses all of the areas of performing arts and how physically demanding it is.

San Diego Opera's Keltner stepping down
James ChuteU-T San Diego

Karen Keltner, conductor of the San Diego Opera for more than three decades, is stepping down.

Keltner’s last appearance as resident conductor will be Feb. 1, 2015, the final performance of the opera’s season opening production of “La Boheme” at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

Sioux City native tells of international success in opera
Ally KarsynSioux City Journal
Growing up in Sioux City, opera singer John Osborn dabbled in a bit of everything from sports like baseball, football and track to being an altar boy. Somewhere between church carnivals and Cub Scouts, he found time to do music and theater, too....
US funds an opera about its ugliest massacre
Norman LebrechtSlippedisc.com
The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $80,000 towards the production costs of an opera on the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam, when more than 300 civilians were slaughtered by US forces.The opera was commissioned by the Kronos quartet from composer Jonathan Berger and librettist Harriet Chessman. It is scheduled for pemiere in 2015 at Stanford University, where Berger is a music professor. He says: ‘I think it will be a reasonably abstract performance… We’re not going to have war scenes set out on the stage…No blood and gore.’
Jake Heggie's golden moment for 'Great Scott'
Janelle GelfandCincinnati.com
It's crunch time for Jake Heggie. The composer of "Dead Man Walking," "Moby-Dick" and "The End of the Affair" is in town for a workshop with the creative team of his latest opera "Great Scott. This is the golden moment where, instead of just hearing it in my head, I get to hear it coming off the page," says the 53-year-old American composer, over coffee last week at the Netherland Hilton, Downtown.
At Washington National Opera, 20-minute operas are on the right track
Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post
The Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative commissions work from young composers. This is a good thing. I am not completely ready to embrace its premise that the best way to start is by commissioning 20-minute operas, because I’m not sure exactly what writing a short-form piece proves about a composer’s ability to write an evening-length work — any more than short-story writers are all necessarily great novelists. But thanks to this program, the company is giving out four commissions every year — three 20-minute operas and a one-hour opera — and that alone is cause for celebration.
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.
Soprano Renee Fleming at 55: 'I May Leave Well Enough Alone'
ReutersThe New York Times
Super Bowl fans heard her hit a creamy "high A" note when she sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in February, and she has a jazzy new Christmas album. But people who want to see Renee Fleming in the operas that made her "America's sweetheart" better hurry.
Florida Grand Opera hosts public meetings
APThe News Tribune
Florida Grand Opera is hosting a series of town hall meetings to discuss the future of the arts organization. Opera officials say the company has completed a strategic planning process and wants to inform its patrons and the public about its plans for the future. General Director and CEO Susan Danis says the presentations will include music from some of the operas that will be featured in upcoming seasons.


Opera San Antonio Looks Ahead
Nathan ConeTexas Public Radio
After a successful production of his family opera "Fantastic Mr. Fox" at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Opera San Antonio's Artistic Director Tobias Picker shares his plans for the future of the young company.  
Opera Piccola Opens A Window Onto Suburban America In The 1950s
Nathan ConeTexas Public Radio
It’s a good time to be an opera fan in San Antonio. In addition to the newly-formed Opera San Antonio, Opera Piccola, led by longtime singer and impresario Mark Richter, opens their third season this weekend at the historic Empire Theatre. On the bill are two one-act operas that capture America in the 1950s.
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.
Met GM: ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ proves protesters wrong
Peter GelbNew York Post
Monday night’s premiere of The Death of Klinghoffer was not one of the easiest nights in the history of The Metropolitan Opera, but it was one of the most important. Composer John Adams has now joined the ranks of Giuseppe Verdi, whose Don Carlo, set during the Spanish Inquisition, was protested by various religious groups in the early 1950s, and Richard Strauss, whose provocative Salome premiere at the Met in 1907 was thought to be unseemly on at least seven counts.
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.
An Opera Under Fire
Zachary WoolfeThe New York Times
When the arts play with contemporary history, they play with fire. The Metropolitan Opera has learned this lesson anew in the furious protests that have raged in advance of the company premiere, on Monday, of John Adams’s ruminative, unsettled, unsettling 1991 operatic masterpiece, “The Death of Klinghoffer.” Another simple, straightforward title concealing another story of seething pain from the recent past, “Klinghoffer” is a reflection on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestine Liberation Front militants, who murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish-American passenger.
Met Opera Director Peter Gelb Responds To Controversy Surrounding 'The Death of Klinghoffer'
Priscilla FrankHuffington Post
If the latest controversy in the world of opera is your thing, you're likely familiar with the heat building around John Adams' "The Death of Klinghoffer," a 1991 opera about the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by Palestinian militants, and the subsequent killing of disabled American Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer. For the uninitiated, Klinghoffer was reportedly shot in the head by militants, and his wheelchair thrown overboard, in a particularly horrific murder scene.
San Diego Opera: Progress report
James ChuteSan Diego Union-Tribune
The reborn San Diego Opera continues to make strides. Here’s a progress report.
Aidan Lang: Seattle Opera ‘really pays attention to detail’
Nicole BrodeurThe Seattle Times
Newly appointed general director of Seattle Opera, Aidan Lang, on taking over from Speight Jenkins, the reputation of the company and the sterling acoustics of McCaw Hall.
Opera finds new life in Central Jersey
Carlton WilkinsonAsbury Park Press
The latest attempt to keep opera alive in the Central New Jersey region is Jason Tramm’s company, MidAtlantic Opera, which unveils its first fully-staged performances on Oct. 26 in Basking Ridge with the production of Giuseppe Verdi’s classic “Rigoletto.”
Opera Saratoga Aims High for 2015
Amy BiancolliTimes Union
A world premiere, more community engagement and a production featuring dance are forthcoming next summer at Opera Saratoga, which has bumped its season from June to July and expanded its productions from two to three under the guidance of new artistic and general director Lawrence Edelson.
Salome's Second Act
Keith CernyTheaterJones
In his latest "Off the Cuff," The Dallas Opera's Keith Cerny imagines a longer version of the Richard Strauss opera, based on Oscar Wilde's original thoughts about his play.
Opera Saratoga Season to Grow
Michael CooperArtsBeat (NYT)
The evolution of Opera Saratoga, which changed its name from Lake George Opera in 2011 to better reflect its new home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is continuing. The company said Monday that it was planning an expanded three-week season this July featuring Rossini’s “La Cenerentola,” Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” and its first world premiere in 27 years, “The Long Walk,” composed by Jeremy Howard Beck with a libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann.
San Francisco Opera Director to Step Down
Allan Kozinn ArtsBeat (NYT)
The San Francisco Opera announced at a news conference on Friday that David Gockley, its general director since 2006, would retire in July 2016, putting the double bar on a tenure that by then will have run 10 years and two months. Mr. Gockley, 71, has long been regarded as one of the most innovative and adventurous leaders in the American opera world.
$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.
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.

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


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