Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Told You So.

Today's SFCV Music News has a report from Jeff Dunn about SF Opera's Plan a Season workshop. He confirms that my own take on this subject was 100% correct: the governing factor in the US is money, in all its forms. SFS took an interesting tack by providing a list of works that more or less had to be programmed with some periodicity, a list of composers you had to rotate through, and a couple of free-for-all spots, then assigning point values rather than dollar values to determine what you could afford to perform. Well, their formula was pretty much my formula too.


Henry Holland said...

What a depressing "must do" list. I know this is a really radical idea but I think SFO and all the other "major" opera companies like the Met, Chicago, LA and Seattle can do a whole season without doing either Verdi or Puccini or Mozart and the world won't collapse, empires will not crumble, the sun will not explode.

Daniel Wolf said...

I don't think European opera houses, even the most adventurous of them, actually work from an algorithm so far different from yours. The advantage a European house has is simply the length of the season which allows for more diversity of programming, including new works, baroque repertoire and many rediscoveries. But in the end, the budget has to balance and local politics (where the money comes from) demands that attendance is good and that does mean a certain number of warhorses reliably filling seats and revivable at reasonable costs -- no new sets or costumes and lesser-known singers and conductors available on the market familar with the roles and scores. Even a house like the one here in Frankfurt, rightly famous for its diversity of productions, and number of capacity crowds (attendance currently in the high 90s and over 200 nights of activity a year in a city the size of San Francisco), faces budget cuts from the city, operates in a building that needs a complete overhaul, and so relies on productions like Axel Corti's 21-year old Traviata to fill the program (the house officially retired the production with its 100th staging in December, 19 years after the death of the director, but who knows?)