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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.
Donor/Trustee Headlines
Grant boosts opera’s education programs
Jan SjostromPalm Beach Daily News
A few years ago, when Palm Beach Opera was being squeezed by the recession, it allowed its education programs to languish. Under such conditions, “we did what we could,” General Director Daniel Biaggi said.

That’s changing now, thanks to a $500,000 matching grant from Jupiter residents Sandra and Paul Goldner. The money will recharge initiatives that bring singers to schools for intimate concerts and Q&As, invite students to dress rehearsals and underwrite an apprentice program for high school students who plan to pursue a voice degree in college. All are free to participants.

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.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera on Review for Downgrade
Michelle KaskeBloomberg
New York City’s Metropolitan Opera Association, the largest performing arts organization in the U.S., is under review for a downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited reduced revenue. Moody’s, which rates the Met’s $100 million of debt A3, seventh-highest, said the review “reflects softening in earned and gift revenue,” according to a report by analyst Dennis Gephardt.
Donation puts Houston Grand Opera near $165 million goal
StaffHouston Chronicle
Houston Grand Opera’s “Inspiring Performance” endowment campaign reached $163 million in contributions Tuesday, thanks to a $1 million gift from Ernest C. and Sarah Butler of Austin. The Butlers’ donation, which will sponsor the company’s chorus-master position, puts the multi-year endowment drive near the $165 million goal set for Dec. 31.
$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.
Santa Fe Opera reports record fund-raising, second highest ticket revenues
Jackie JadrnakAlbuquerque Journal
More than 78,000 people attended performances at The Santa Fe Opera this summer, yielding $8.7 million in ticket sales, the second highest amount of ticket revenue collected in any season, according to Santa Fe's end-of-season report.
Sacramento classical music groups receive $1.1 million windfall from estate of former U.S. Forest Service worker
Edward OrtizThe Sacramento Bee
Three classical music organizations in the Sacramento region will share in a $1.1 million bequest from the late J. David Ramsey, a former U.S. Forest Service worker. It’s the most significant gift ever earmarked for classical music through the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, which has been overseeing such gifts since 1983.
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.
Scaling the Wall: 5 Ways to Get Unsolicited Proposals Heard
Rick CohenNonprofit Quarterly
Philanthropy is, increasingly, a world of insiders. How many foundation websites explain in no uncertain terms that they do not accept unsolicited proposals, or even unsolicited letters of interest? For nonprofits that aren’t already in the foundations’ circles or don’t socialize with the foundation leaders and staff, it looks and feels like an impenetrable, unscalable, concrete wall. 
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.
The Future of Opera
Terry TeachoutThe Wall Street Journal
Terry Teachout explains why opera needn't be bound for extinction.
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.
Improbable Tales: Nonprofit Gives Back $10 Million Grant (and $10M Match)
Ruth McCambridgeNonprofit Quarterly
When is a multimillion dollar grant not needed? When it locks you into a way of doing things that is either unsustainable or simply not ideal.
Wounded Warrior CEO Rips Rating Systems as ‘Ineffective and Misinformed’
Megan O'NeillChronicle of Philanthropy
Ratings systems by groups like Navigator and Charity Watch are at best "horribly ineffective and misinformed" and at worst "outright misleading the public," says the chief executive of a fast-growing veterans nonprofit.
Video: Foundations Reveal What They Look for in Grant Proposals
Idit Knaan & Megan O'NeillChronicle of Philanthropy
What are grant makers looking for in proposals?

In this video, shot at the Council on Foundation's recent annual conference in Washington, officials from the Walmart Foundation, Ford Foundation, Berks County Community Foundation, the Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Foundation, and the Minnesota Council on Foundations discuss the characteristics that make a grant proposal grab their attention and move to the top of the pile.
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.
San Diego Opera cutting costs as part of effort to achieve stability
David NgLos Angeles Times
As San Diego Opera continues to regroup and work toward mounting its planned 2015 season, scheduled to begin in January, the company has put cost-cutting measures in place that are expected to help it achieve a measure of financial stability.
Arizona Opera meets $1M challenge, erases debt
Cathalena E. BurchArizona Daily Star
Arizona Opera raised $500,000 in donations since May 1, matching a $500,000 gift from an anonymous donor as part of its second Million Dollar May blitz campaign.
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.

Online Fundraising Goes Mainstream
Alex Daniels, Anu NarayanswamyThe Chronicle of Philanthropy
Online giving is still growing, but triple-digit annual increases are a thing of the past.
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.
Opera Theatre of St. Louis sees subscription revenue, attendance rise
Angela MuellerSt. Louis Business Journal
Both subscription revenue and attendance have increased by 8.1 percent thus far this year at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, making 2014 the company’s highest grossing subscription season in five years.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Are opera singers now to be judged on their looks not their voice?
Jennifer JohnstonThe Guardian
A storm of protest has erupted over critics' disparaging comments about a Glyndebourne singer's size and shape. If there is a line over which opera critics should not step, then it is into the realms of a singers' personal appearance, writes mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnston.
Chicago Opera Theater’s 40th Anniversary Gala raises $175,000
StaffOak Park Sun Times
The Chicago Opera Theater celebrated its 40th anniversary and 2014 season in the vineyard-inspired cocktail and dining hall of City Winery on April 24. The event attracted 120 guests who were inspired to raise a collective $175,000 through the live auction, raffle and paddle raise in support of the artistry, education and dedication to high-quality productions of rare and new opera that COT has upheld for 40 years.
Famous opera inspires tapestry for Theatre Royal
Phil MillerThe Herald Scotland
The painter was present for the "cutting off" ceremony at the Dovecot studios, Edinburgh, where the tapestry has been made for the last nine months. The tapestry, worked on by up to four weavers at any one time, is 18ft 4in by 13ft 9in and will decorate the new foyer of the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.Entitled Butterfly, it has been designed by Ms Watt, with the weaving led by Dovecot's Master Weaver, Naomi Robertson. The work will be installed in the theatre's new foyer this summer, hanging over three floors.
General operating funds, admin expenses, and why we nonprofits are our own worst enemies
Vu LeNonprofit With Balls
This week I was on an NDOA panel to discuss the importance of unrestricted funds. I was there with another nonprofit leader as well as two funders, and all of us, everyone in the room, agreed that general operating funds are awesome. General operating funds are like Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones, or Darryl Dixon of The Walking Dead, or, you know, Sophia from The Golden Girls: It is flexible, it is adaptable, and that’s why it gets stuff done.
Body shaming in opera: At what point is enough, enough?
Sarah Ann WalkerLimelight
Imagine for a moment that you’re walking down the street. Suddenly, you hear the most glorious music and the sound of singing coming from a house you’re about to walk past. You stand there listening and basking in this beautiful sound. Perhaps this voice, and music, sends you within yourself allowing visions and memories to arise. Eventually, a single tear rolls down your cheek as you submerse yourself in the moment.

As you peer in to see where the singing is coming from, you get a glimpse of the singer – a large woman. She isn’t what you thought she’d look like. She is nowhere near the ideal weight that society expects her to be. Has what you experienced just become less intense because she isn’t what you expected to see? Has the moment that she touched your soul been erased because she wasn’t a size 8?
San Diego opera has the cash. Is the announcement of a 2015 season imminent?
Soraya Nadia McDonaldThe Washington Post
Now that the San Diego Opera has safely passed the $2 million crowdfunding mark, the question is, will there be a 2015 season, and if so, when will it be announced? After 13 of its board members resigned, the new board of the San Diego Opera, which was slated to close April 29, voted to extend a fundraising deadline until today, May 19. The troubled opera has been trying to find ways to see its 50th season after the previous board voted to shutter it due to a lack of funds. It set a crowdfunding goal of $1 million, needed by May 19, which it reached 10 days early. The opera was also buttressed by a separate $1 million donation from Carol Lazier, the new board president.
It Is Deadline Day For San Diego Opera
Drew McManusAdaptistration
Today marks the self-imposed deadline for the San Diego Opera (SDO) to reach its fundraising goal in order to determine whether or not the organization will carry out a 2015 season. An announcement on that status is expected at some point later in the day (check back for updates) but they did make a statement late last week that the company has officially released General and Artistic Director and CEO Ian Campbell after placing him on paid administrative leave on 4/25/2013.
Alice Coote: An open letter to opera critics
Alice CooteSlipped Disc
The mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, who sings leading roles at the Met, Covent Garden and major concert halls and festivals, was outraged like many others at the slew of body insults hurled by British critics today at a young singer appearing at Glyndebourne.
San Diego Opera staying open
James ChuteSan Diego Union-Tribune
The curtain has gone back up on the San Diego Opera. The opera’s board of directors voted to rescind the board’s March 19 vote to shut down the company. “The public spoke, we listened, and we’re open for business,” said board president Carol Lazier in a statement. “And do we have some great news to share with you.”
San Diego Opera Will Not Close, Announces 2015 Season
Brian WiseOperavore
Two months after the San Diego Opera announced it would shut down at the end of its 2014 season, the company's board of directors voted on Friday to put on a 50th anniversary season next year. The opera company announced on Monday that it has raised $4.5 million, including more than $2.1 million in an Internet-based crowdfunding campaign.
A Life Beyond "Do What You Love"
Gordon MarinoThe New York Times
Student advisees often come to my office, rubbing their hands together, furrowing their brows and asking me to walk along with them as they ponder life after graduation. Just the other day, a sophomore made an appointment because he was worrying about whether he should become a doctor or a philosophy professor. A few minutes later, he nervously confessed that he had also thought of giving stand-up comedy a whirl. As an occupational counselor, my kneejerk reaction has always been, “What are you most passionate about?” Sometimes I‘d even go into a sermonette about how it is important to distinguish between what we think we are supposed to love and what we really love. But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?
Opera Glasses, Google Edition
Allan KozinnThe New York Times
Opera companies, particularly small experimental ones, have been toying in recent years with immersive performances, in which audiences and performers move through different spaces. Often, these have been new works in English, but for companies interested in reimagining the classic canon, one question regularly arises: How to give mobile audiences the supertitle translations to which they have become accustomed?
La Scala to Fire Incoming Director After One Season
Elisabetta PovoledoThe New York Times
In what Mayor Giuliano Pisapia described as an agonizing decision, the board of La Scala on Thursday voted to dismiss that opera theater’s incoming director general at the end of his first season, amid charges of a conflict of interest.
Opera singer struggles with speech after stroke
Eric JordanCNN
My life-threatening stroke occurred early on September 20, 2012. When I finally came to in the intensive care unit after receiving a mechanical thrombectomy device, I saw my wife. We cried together. Then the attending nurse drew the curtain and asked me if I knew what day it was.

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


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