Monday, November 10, 2008

But seriously...

...Gerard Mortier's departure from NYCO even before his arrival is a catastrophe for the company. They're out of the New York State Theater while it's being renovated. Their financial situation is precarious, because while their expenses are low at the moment, so is their income. (It's hard to do fundraising when you're not staging anything.) They've laid off a few employees and have had some required vacation days for the remaining staff members.

Mortier was promised a big budget - $68 million - and among the reasons he left is that NYCO could only get him about $35 million of that. Of course, as a friend points out, Europeans who take over American opera companies - and Americans who've worked only in Europe, like Pamela Rosenberg - are often unaware of or uncomfortable with the fundraising requirements that come with the job. We don't know whether Mortier would have succeeded at this.

He had ambitious plans for next season, including the NYC premiere of Saint Francois d'Assis and works by Debussy, Janacek, Stravinsky, Britten, Glass, Adams, and others. Now the Board of Directors doesn't know who will be running the company, and it's hard to imagine anyone coming in at this point and putting on the planned season.

Joshua Kosman called this situation back in May, 2007. A sad tip 'o the hat to him today.


Henry Holland said...

*SIGH* What a freakin' mess! I had very little interest in traveling for NYCO during the Glimmerglass Gang's tenure, being that I loathe Handel and 19th century bel canto stuff, but during the late Christopher Keene's tenure, I traveled as much as I could as he actively did the 20th century stuff I love.

What's been depressing is how quickly the anti-Mortier faction jumped all over his first year of programming to go "OhmyGAWD! It's going to only be 20th century stuff! There might be actual *GASP* serialism done!" when in fact that season was intended as a calling card, it was back to the usual Monterverdi and on stuff after that.

So, a chance to broaden the repetoire and hear something that isn't Top 20 fare just went down in flames. Damn damn damn.

Lisa Hirsch said...


Anonymous said...

If only rather boring Gockley would pick up such interesting productions and daring planning.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Rumors of future seasons look better than this, from what I have heard.

Henry, I love Handel. Bite you tongue. :)