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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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Marketing/PR Headlines
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.
Arts Leadership and the Changing Social Contract
Emiko OnoARTSblog
Since I began working in the arts in 2001, there has been a subtle but constant pressure on the sector to transform that can be both distressing and motivating. I will never forget the time in 2003 when Mark O’Neill, then the Head of Museums and Galleries for the city of Glasgow (Scotland), described how a population of shipyard workers reported that they did not attend a nearby museum because the price of admission was too expensive. The nauseating twist was that the museum did not have an admission fee. Last week, this story came to mind again as I spoke with Susie Medak, managing director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre and an arts leader with more than 25 years of experience. Susie’s hypothesis—that the tacit social contract between society and arts organizations is changing—is one I have found to be incredibly useful. The premise of her theory is that it is no longer sufficient for arts organizations to provide distinctive work, attract an audience, and secure financial support—it needs to include wider swaths of people who are largely not involved.
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.
Twitter Rolls Out Its Facebook-Like Profile Redesign
Stan SchroederMashable
Twitter is gradually rolling out a major redesign of user profiles, starting on Tuesday. The new look, which Twitter was testing in February, adds a lot more user information and several new features — and it looks quite similar to Facebook's user profiles. The new profile features a larger user photo and customizable header image. Twitter highlights your tweets that have the most engagement by displaying them slightly larger than the rest. You can also pin one of your tweets to the top of the page.
How Do I Get the Press to Cover My Company?
Maryam Banikarim and Maxine BédatFast Company
Sure, you are in love with your company, but you won't be successful unless you get noticed by the rset of the world -- and that starts with getting some coverage in the media. CMO of Gannett Maryam Banikarim and cofounder of fashion site Zady, Maxine Bédat answer this week's read question.
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.
Columbia University Announces 98th Annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music
Sabina LeeColumbia University News
The 98th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board, were announced today by Columbia University.
Who Brands Your Nonprofit? Who Tells Its Story and How?
Carlo M. CuestaNonprofit Quarterly
Organizational identity within the nonprofit sector is also shaped by stories. Unfortunately, the very makeup of the institution and the demands to prove the value, relevancy and effectiveness of its work creates the need for a simplified narrative—one that veers away from the complexity of addressing difficult, sometimes unsolvable issues toward a heroic journey that leads to proof of success. 
How to Explain Social Networks to Non-Users (Without Making Them Feel Stupid)
Evan LePageHootSuite Blog
Moms are being unfairly maligned online. Posts promising to explain tech tools and trends are now too often framed as, “How would you explain this to your mom.” Examples include the widely circulated “Mom This is How Twitter Works,” to The New York Times’ recent post “How to Explain Bitcoin to Your Mom.” The “mom” character in these pieces is a demographic stand-in for unsophisticated users, but this ignores the reality of women and technology.
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.
Why It Doesn't Matter That You May Never Reach Inbox Zero
Laura VanderkamFast Company
I had this conversation again the other day: a woman shared her schedule with me, and I noted that she logged back on to work for at least 90 minutes each night. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but when I inquired what brilliant strategizing transpired during that second shift, I got a rueful reply: “I’m cleaning out my inbox.”

She asked how to process email more efficiently so she could move on to more enjoyable things. Unfortunately, I had no such tips. For starters, I have hundreds of unread emails in my inbox at any given time. Not only do I not file emails, I haven’t even figured out how to create folders.
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.
Unpaid Internships, or Getting Your Foot in the Door of the American Theater
Greg RedlawskHowlRound
In the wake of the death of a camera assistant on a film shoot in Georgia, there’s been plenty of reflection in the film industry regarding the conditions under which crew members perform their duties. I keep reading these articles and thinking about how it all relates to the theater world and, in particular, the nonprofit system of New York City. Our circumstances certainly aren’t identical to those in film, yet there are a lot of problems with entry-level positions in many aspects of our industry. We could do with a little reflection.
Advertisers Spend More Online Than on Broadcast TV for the First Time
Marc GraserVariety
In a first for the advertising industry, marketers are spending more to promote their brands online than on broadcast television, driven mostly by the significant increase of ads appearing on digital platforms.

Annual ad buys on mobile devices soared to $7.1 billion last year, up from $3.4 billion in 2012, according to a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The companies lump search, display and video ads together in the mobile category, which accounted for 17% of the Internet ad market.
Top 10 Brands on Google+
Liam FoyMy Clever Agency
We all know as marketers that Google+ is going to play a part at some point but here are my favourite brands that are currently maximising their efforts on Google+. I’ve been a fan of the platform for a while, it offers me something that I can’t quite get on some of the other bigger platforms. So without further a do here’s my top 10.
Why Marketing Automation is Hot (and Open Ecosystems are Hotter)
Ryan HolmesHootsuite
It might not be the sexiest topic, but it is – hands down – one of the hottest sectors in tech right now: marketing automation. Major IT vendors, the Oracles and Adobes and Salesforces of the world, are snapping up marketing automation software tools in an arms race that continues to escalate.
Opera patrons offered trade-in for cancelled show
Lou HarryIndianapolis Business Journal
What to do about those tickets you had for "Albert Herring," Indianapolis Opera's cancelled final production of the season? Three other local arts organizations have an idea. Dance Kaleidoscope, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra are offering those holding "Herring" tickets to exchange them for "Picture This," DK's May 1-4 performance at the IMA or either of a pair of ICO performances, one April 11 and the other May 17.
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.
Do Recordings Kill Music?
Sasha Frere-JonesThe New Yorker
The musician and writer David Grubbs began his career far from the silence and mushrooms of John Cage, the musician, philosopher, and writer. As a teen-ager in Louisville, Grubbs formed the band Squirrel Bait, an organized explosion that converted punk rock into something twice its original size, more melodic and chaotic than earlier iterations. From there, Grubbs moved into a series of disparate bands, mostly playing music fairly far removed from the tendencies of rock. One long-running project that he conducted with Jim O’Rourke, Gastr del Sol, seemed like a collation of all the parts of sound that are deëmphasized on mainstream rock records: silence, dissonance, scrapes, and squeaks.
Are You Making These 5 Twitter Mistakes?
Katerina PetropoulouTwitterCounter.com
Twitter can be a great tool for establishing your brand, building a community and extending your influence. But to get the most out of Twitter and do all of the above, first you need to avoid making these common mistakes.
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.
The Internet's Telltale Heartbleed
Rusty FosterThe New Yorker
The cryptography expert Bruce Schneier, who has been writing about computer security for more than fifteen years, is not given to panic or hyperbole. So when he writes, of the “catastrophic bug” known as Heartbleed, “On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11,” it’s safe to conclude that the Internet has a serious problem. The bug, which was announced on Tuesday—complete with an explanatory Web site and a bleeding-heart logo—is a vulnerability in a widely used piece of encryption software called OpenSSL.
Why do people give Standing Ovations? We did a SURVEY to find out.
Ken DavenportThe Producer's Perspective
If you’ve seen a show lately, then I’d bet money that you’ve seen a Standing Ovation as well. They seem to be everywhere these days, don’t they?  I remember seeing them at every high school show I saw when I was a teen, and that trend took over Broadway as well. To be honest, I don’t really care if every show has a Standing ‘O’, as I wrote about a couple of years ago after John Simon e-screamed that the perfunctory elevated ovation should stop. But does every Broadway show really have a standing ovation?  And why are people standing up?  Do they really think the show deserves it?
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.
RI opera prodigy takes stage for abused kids
Walt ButeauWPRI.com
Alexis McKinnon’s parents knew she could sing when they heard her angelic voice in the bathtub at the age of two. Now, her parents say she’s making a name for herself around the county in pop and opera circles, although she might be better known in Italy than her home state. “I’d say opera is the more difficult one because you have to act it out and you have to pronounce every thing correctly whether you’re doing it in English or a different language,” the petite McKinnon says.
The International Opera Awards: a reminder of a vibrant operatic scene
Ivan HewettThe Telegraph
When Dr Johnson described opera as "an irrational and exotic entertainment" he implied something else: opera is also vastly expensive. Nowadays it may be a touch less irrational, and isn’t always set on a magic island or in a Duke’s castle. Even so, it’s still expensive, and that means that in straitened and somewhat puritanical times opera, more than any other artistic form, is vulnerable to cutbacks. Some months ago New York City Opera collapsed, though it went down fighting by offering Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole as its final production, rather than a crowd-pleaser. Some weeks ago San Diego Opera threw in the towel and announced that it was going into voluntary liquidation, though it seems that decision is now on hold.
Peter Sellars on Gerard Mortier
Peter SellarsThe Rest is Noise
Gerard Mortier was a mercurial operatic visionary who transformed the art form—not with a particular production or body of work, but with an attitude. Wherever Gerard was and whatever he was doing, you knew it would be exciting. His imprimatur guaranteed challenge, engagement, pleasure, and the kind of adventure informed and made possible by profound conviction and deep connoisseurship.
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.

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.
Political Cacophony Challenges Musicians
Anthony TommasiniThe New York Times
On Feb. 12, the charismatic Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel led a youth orchestra in Caracas to celebrate the 39th anniversary of El Sistema, the government-supported program that has organized hundreds of thousands of children across Venezuela into instrumental ensembles, serving as a model of using music education for social uplift. As the performance was underway, a crackdown on peaceful demonstrations was being enforced in the streets. People were protesting the policies of President Nicolás Maduro’s government, along with the pervasive crime, crippling inflation and scarcities that plague Venezuela today.
Behind the Scenes: LA Opera’s Costume Shop
Michelle MillsSan Gabriel Valley Tribune
L.A. Opera’s costume shop is not far from the garment district in Downtown Los Angeles. Just a few steps across its foyer is the main floor, bustling with people working at sewing machines and sergers, snipping and ironing fabric, and hand stitching beads or other embellishments onto costume pieces. The tables and walls of the work areas are papered with photos, pages ripped from fashion magazines, sketches and open books, all serving as examples of the fashions being created.
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?
Chicago opera scene hits high note with loyal audiences
Mary WisniewskiReuters
The plot summary of U.S. opera in recent years has unfolded like the last act of a Verdi tragedy: New York City Opera, dead; Opera Boston, dead; San Diego Opera, on its final aria.

The Chicago opera scene, however, is all up tempo.
San Diego Opera chooses a noble death
Jim ChuteSan Diego Union-Tribune
But given the company's financial condition, were there other options?

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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