David Gockley to Joshua Kosman:
“This is a transition year, and I didn’t want to leave my successor with something big and ugly,” Gockley said in a phone interview. “I wanted to be sure to hand Matthew something that was attainable.”Well, Mr. Gockley's plans appear to have gone awry: I received a letter a couple of days ago from Matthew Shilvock, General Director Designate, offering additional subscription flexibility and more or less begging me to renew my San Francisco Opera subscription. I am about to mail a long letter politely saying no and describing my reasons.
I am hearing stories of 20 and 30 year subscribers who decided against renewing. I'm seriously curious just how big a hit SFO is taking for this terrible decision.
But that's what happens when you program a season that might have been designed to appeal to opera newcomers and Jan & Maria Manetti Shrem, major donors who donate in support of Italian opera.* People like me, who'd like to hear French, Russian, German, and English-language opera, and who think it's a very bad idea to program Madame Butterfly in alternate years, will walk away and spend our money hearing more interesting repertory.
Previously: Repertory Fatigue, on the SFO season announcement
* I wonder whether they'd support a production of La donna senz'ombra....oh, probably not, even though Puccini did attend the first Italian production of the work.