Friday, August 16, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Coming Soon to an Opera House Near Me

I'm in Santa Fe for Poul Ruders' new opera, The Thirteenth Child, and Janacek's Jenufa (expect an SFCV review in the next few days). Ruders' bio in the program gives away that a new production of his most famous opera, The Handmaid's Tale, is coming to San Francisco Opera, in 2020 if I'm reading the sentence right.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Apropos of Abuse

Sexual assault and sexual harassment aren't the only ways that people are abused. There are other crappy behaviors:
  • Sexist or racist remarks
  • Taking credit for work another person did
  • Bullying, in or out of the classroom
  • Retaliation for being reported for bad behavior
I'm hoping that journalists will begin to investigate situations such as the above, which are also enormously destructive and hurt individuals, their studies, their careers. From reading Twitter, let's just say that I'm convinced that this garbage behavior is shamefully common.

If anything like the above has happened to you, you could start by directly contacting reporters who've done some work already in these areas (Peggy McGlone and Anne Midgette at the Washington Post, for example) or by making a confidential report to the NY Times.

#MeToo Updates

Well, I was planning an update on what's been happening the last few months even before the big story this week. So you get two articles, I hope.

Updates on previous issues:
  • Metropolitan Opera vs. James Levine: In March, the judge in the case dismissed most of Levine's defamation claims against the Met. At the beginning of this month, the parties settled. The terms are confidential; we don't know whether money changed hands or what was agreed to. Too damn bad, because I wanted to see Levine on the stand and any evidence anyone has. We will also never know what bodies might be buried where; what the Met knew and when; etc.
  • David Daniels. New filings indicate that U. Mich. received more complaints against the countertenor than were previously disclosed. 
  • Back in February, Bozeman Symphony music director Matthew Savery resigned over harassment and terrible behavior of all sorts. As quoted by Drew McManus at Adaptistration, at letter to the orchestra's board included this: "Of paramount concern is the bullying, harassment, mistreatment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior we have experienced, seen and heard from the current Music Director, Matthew Savery, toward our local and guest musicians, BSO administrative staff, and donors."
The second-biggest #MeToo story in the last few weeks has been about violinist Lara St. John. When she was a student at the Curtis Institute in the mid-1980s, she was assaulted by Jascha Brodsky, a famous violin teacher. She told friends about it, among them Bay Area pianist Eric Zivian, and she also went directly to Curtis's administration....which did absolutely nothing.

After the Philadelphia Inquirer published the store I linked to above, Curtis proceeded to offer a non-apology apology - more than one, in fact - and, unbelievably, sent email to alumni asking them not to comment on the story, talk to the press, etc. That...is not a good look for an educational institution. It is also amazing from a public relations standpoint. Doesn't Curtis have competent publicists working for them??

The St. John story is worth noting not only for the violinist's follow-up in the decades since Brodsky assaulted her, but for the fact that she went directly to Curtis, which took no useful action. Any time you hear someone asking "but why didn't she complain?", you should cite what happened with St. John. And tell people what happens to lots of whistle-blowers: retaliation from employers, difficulty getting hired elsewhere (because you're known to be honest and willing to tell the truth publicly), loss of income, etc.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Museum Mondays





La France Impériale protégeant l'Agriculture et les Sciences
(but I think the cherub in the second photo down is from Enfants porteurs de palms, same artist)
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Musée d'Orsay
Paris, 2018

Friday, August 02, 2019

A Fit of Pique

This is the kind of thing that should not happen: depending on when you log in to the SF Opera web site to buy tickets to either If I Were You or the Merola Finale, you could wind up paying quite different prices.

When I logged in after selecting a seat, I would have been charged a total of $37 ($25 seat, $12 "Merola fee"). Click the screen shot to enlarge it to something readable.





When I logged in before selecting a seat, I would have been charged a total of $25 ($25 seat):














I have two problems with this:

  • The order in which you select a seat and log in should not result in a price change. I believe that SFO is aware of this, from a brief conversation with the box office.
  • What the fuck is a "Merola fee" and why is anyone being charged this? No ticket price should be increased by 50% (or 25% if you're buying a $50 seat) over some extra fee. 
And it's why I'm not attending either If I Were You or the Finale. This just pisses me off too much.

Friday Photo


Stones of Stennis
Orkney
June, 1982
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

I have the negative and should get a new print made. You can just see the Arctic skua flying off the top of the standing stone.