Cher Public

magic to do

Articulate, awe-inspring, alliterative administrator The Man of Steel spoke yesterday to New York One, defining his vision for the mission of the New York City Opera:

“Championing new repertoire and discovering old repertoire. And particularly promoting American operas and American opera singers and providing visionary new productions of standard repertoire. So it’s a very clear mission,” said Steel.

The ingenious intendant emphasized that he does not intend to “downsize” productions, stating, “Whether that’s dark and disturbing or flamboyant and flashy, we want to make sure that it’s an intense and wonderful theatrical experience.” He then added, “Welcome to Doug Henning‘s Wild and Wacky World of Illusion… where magic is fun!”

The complete report, including a few sound bytes from Mr. Steel, may be found at NY1.

  • squirrel

    ditto can we now put this whole episode behind us? we are bored.

  • Alto

    Dixit Cæca:

    “Now let’s be fair.”

    Fair enough. You did provide the link, which exonerates you from any ethical lapse (which, surely, no one would ever attribute to our Doyenne anyway). But, as century XXI progresses, the Web is not some branch of tradutuibak scholarly research. As I said above, I received a distressed phone call while in Whole Foods and steered my trusty iPhone to the hallowed Box (while many a whole food hung upon my manly arm). It was not the place to consume a television link, so I had to content myself (as, clearly, others who talked to me had done) with the “transcript.”

    Anything I said above was certainly not a “J’accuse” by any means. It was merely meant as an explanation of why some were upset and an example of how some of the absurdities repeatedly retailed here and elsewhere get started.

  • longtimelistener

    OMFG. I certainly thought you were serious, my dear. It’s not uncommon for new organizations to clip out lines that make the interviewee sound like a lunatic. Otherwise explain why Pat Buchanan is on CNN so much?

    I figured it meant he had finally done the math and realized his Don Giovanni would have to be assembled from the bits and pieces of other productions. Stand by for a White House Don Giovanni based on the only once seen “Semele” with DG as a movie producer (Did someone say Bob Evans?) and Zerlina as (who else?) Marilyn Monroe. You know they have that big staircase from “Vanessa” is it too late to do “Regina?” Perfect for Ms. Flanagan.

    Well I guess you fancy city ladies really took in a country girl. “Looks likes it’s back to the perfume counter for me. And by the way, there’s a name for you ladies…”

  • Alto

    How strange. In the composing window,


    looked like


  • Satisfied

    The Met has announced their summer schedule.

    I’ll take Szot over blowhards Gheorghiu and Algana any day.

  • Sanford

    Aside from the Central Park singers, all of whom I’ve heard of, who are these people?

  • Hippolyte

    If I hadn’t seen his name in the MET press release as the accompanist for its summer recital series, I would have bet that “Vlad Iftinca” was a character out of “Mawrdew Czgowchwz.”

  • anonymous

    OMG I was not taken in for one minute by our Doyenne’s juxtaposition of Steel and Doug Henning, but I *was* trying to sort out “tradutuibak”.

  • Alto

    I’m delighted with the news that Bea Arthur has left her entire tradutuibak to the New York City Opera.

  • Pousette

    Steel has already raised quite a bit of money, so there are certainly people willing to put their money on him. His track record at Miller was impressive, not just artistically, but fiscally. It may take time to redefine the company, but first he has to get them back on track financially. The season seems reasonably doable. By the way, the entire Juilliard Falstaff production only cost $22,000, so it is possible to do great things without a bloated budget.

  • smalum

    How much those singers, musicians and chorus get paid there? Sets built in a union shop? Costumes? Props? designers all Union? Please do not compare apples and oranges… unless you add tequila.

  • Pousette

    You have a point about the unions. The Glimmerglass partnership worked in that way because they built the sets up there -- in a non-union house. I can’t remember NYCO ever doing new productions without a partner. Even the great Xerxes production had made the rounds from Santa Fe to LA, Boston and Seattle. Does anyone know if the Alden Giovanni comes from elsewhere? I can’t imagine they’re going to go it completely alone.

  • longtimelistener

    #51. Steel has raised quite a bit of money? For real? “Philanthropist Pledges 2 Million to keep NYCO going” would be a heck of a headline. They shouldn’t be sitting on the good news!

    Also, I don’t really think you can say Juilliard is doing Falstaff for 22K so we can do Don Giovanni at NYCO for 46K. Please Juilliard is a school.

    Is that Steel’s vision “As good as a good school production?” Tickets to Juilliard are only $20 and they are sold out because everyone wants a peak at the Juilliard (and now Met I guess) kids. I have seen some very clever things on that stage but I have also seen alot of scenes acted out on an empty black stage. I don’t think NYCO patrons are going to go for a “Chicago” style “Don Giovanni.”

    The NYCO production of “Falstaff” (A Glimmerglass co-production) at least has a real set for Falstaff’s room, a garden set with trees, a riverfront set, and a pretty elaborate woods set for act 3. And people criticize it for being too spare. What do you think would happen if NYCO presented a DG that was one set with a fly for “Crossover” type scenes (like the Juilliard set) especially since the Met introduced a new DG a couple of years ago.

    I hope NYC has opened up its pockets and that NYCO is now flush with cash, but I’m not betting on it.
    #53. I am pretty sure the most recent production of “Semele”,”Margaret Garner” and “Capriccio” were all NYCO go it alone productions. And also, the “Hollander” now sold to WNO was also a go it alone production. The very old “Candide” I think was built by Beverly Sills for NYCO alone too. Oddly it seems information about productions available for rental has vanished from the black dot NYCO website.

  • Pousette

    #54: Fair enough about comparing a NYCO production to a “school production” -- but remember, one of the best Kellogg-era productions, IMHO, was the very simple Tosca set. Black and red, jail cell a mere suggestion. Not a lot of dough spent on that, but it was really striking to look at, and that gash of red in Act 2 was memorable. I’d take it over the Zeffirelli super-literal reproduction of Rome, magnificent though it may be. I think directors like Christopher Alden, love him or hate him, are really good at doing a lot on a small budget.

    I guess my beef here is all the anticipated Schadenfreude at NYCO’s demise. Steel inherited a mess, and we ought to support his efforts at least until he has a chance to put his mark on the company. Then, all bets are off!

  • Pousette

    Oh, one more thing -- Margaret Garner was a co-production, with Cincinnati Opera and Detroit, I think. Not sure about the others, though Cendrillon was a French production originally. Candide was a coproduction with Scottish Opera. So they really haven’t gone it alone very often. Nobody does anymore, unless they rent their sets, which have to be fairly traditional to be practical.

  • longtimelistener

    Pousette, “Semele”, “Capriccio” and “Margaret Garner” were new NYCO productions. MG had been done before but with a different production.

    I’m a fan of Mark Lamos’s NYCO/Glimmerglass fascist “Tosca” too. But there’s no way that production was anything like 46k. I think this is one of the productions NYCO poured money into after it came down from Glimmerglass so no one, except Robin Thompson who is probably in Fiji somewhere or Paul Kellogg who is so retired he wasn’t even seen at Glimmerglass this year, could tell us exactly what. I’ll guess 300k. Anyone else?

    We can all “Wait and see” on Mr. Steel but we can’t deny there’s no information out there to indicate he will be able to pull it off. 1.3M for the Miller? 3 One act Operas produced? Running Dallas for 6 months? How does this add up to being able to trump Robin Thompson in the programming area and Paul Kellog in fundraising? I just don’t see it.

    I hope he finds the money, I hope we don’t loose NYCO. But for the longevity of the company I think Francesca Zambello would have been the better choice.