Around The Classical Internet: July 15, 2011

  • With New York City Opera's future at stake, general manager and artistic director George Steel announced his plans on Tuesday for the 2011-12 season, producing five operas in four-show runs at smaller venues scattered around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
  • With their planned departure from Lincoln Center, NYCO's operating budget has been slashed from $31M to $13M. As Steel noted at the press conference, if the company simply left their space on the plaza and rented back the Koch Theater on production weeks, that alone would carve $2M off their costs.
  • NYCO's press conference at the Guggenheim Museum was prefaced by a demonstration outside led by members of the two unions whose work with NYCO will be significantly curtailed.
  • The letter protesting these changes, signed by now over 200 distinguished singers, composers and other parties, is now available online.
  • If this all goes ahead, the specter of asking performers, production staff — and audiences — to cross picket lines is rising. In fact, one of the unions involved, AGMA, has already sent a warning letter to its members.
  • New York City Michael Bloomberg — who in private life has given about $200M to city arts organizations — is staying out of the dispute, according to NY1.
  • And Zachary Woolfe went to Madrid to visit with Gerard Mortier, who is now programming in Spain what he'd once intended for City Opera. His take on Gotham from the rear-view mirror: "It's a world city, and at the same time it's provincial."
  • The Earl of Harewood — first cousin to the Queen and managing director and later chairman of the English National Opera (ENO) has passed away at age 88: "[Opera] gave me a kick, caused me to think the world a more exciting place than it was otherwise."
  • Negotiations in Louisville aren't looking good. The players are rejecting management's offer: Perform on a per-service basis, or risk losing their jobs.
  • The band will play on in Philly — at least for now. The musicians have an extension on their concessionary contract, which expires in mid-November.
  • As Proms in London opens, a spirited defense (defence?) of the tradition: "It's fascinating to see how a series of orchestral concerts has become a focus for all our anxieties about culture."
  • Conductor Seiji Ozawa and video artist Bill Viola (whose work includes videos based on Varèse and Wagner) were among those just honored as Praemium Imperiale Laureates in Japan. The award, worth 15 million yen (£115,000), will be formally presented at a ceremony in Tokyo in October.
  • Valery Gergiev's efforts to clean up the Tchaikovsky Competition seem to be paying off.
  • Meanwhile in Russia, Mikhail Arkadyev, the outgoing conductor of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Vladivostok, says that his contract wasn't renewed because he isn't supporting Putin's reelection campaign.
  • The online music service Spotify launched yesterday in the US. An enterprising NPR Classical fan based in Beijing has already created playlists inspired by some of our series, including the "NPR Classical 50" and "50 Great Voices."

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