Cher Public

Must… reach… endowment…

The Man of Steel is in danger again, this time from a new gang of supervillains: Lila and DeWitt Wallace. [NYT]

  • Porpora

    Reach endowment? How big is it exactly?

  • I foresee a situation in which the unions win the battle but lose the war. What if they succeed in keeping the NYCO at Lincoln Center but in doing so help NYCO go out of business?

    • Porpora

      Help NYCO go out of business?

      150 musicians and company members are already out of business.

      • 98rsd

        The chorus, for example, hardly worked full time at City Opera to begin with--if they work part time next year, they will not be out of a job. You can argue the terms and conditions, but your statement is disingenuous.

        I agree with Sanford that forcing the company to stay at Lincoln Center will kill it off, resulting in unemployment, rather than underemployment. Take your pick.

        Or donate some money. I’ve done what I can. Have you?

    • Octavius

      The battle is already lost if George Steel and Mary Sharp Cronson are allowed to rip-off the NYCO brand name and walk away, leaving the entire company behind.

      Corporations purchase other businesses all the time, so let Cronson and Wall purchase the name of NYCO if they think it is valuable, pay off the company (meaning the workers) handsomely as occurs in corporate take-overs, and then treat it as their private play thing (as they clearly want to do).

      Otherwise, they should leave NYCO and simply form their own free-wheeling theatrical company, call it what they will, and start marketing it to the public.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Maybe this will make Steel resign!!! He does not have the experience to fight this new threat. Who does????

  • Henry Holland

    This is the end
    Beautiful friend
    This is the end
    My only friend, the end
    Of our elaborate plans
    The End
    Of everything that stands
    The End
    No safety or surprise
    The End
    I’ll never look in to your eyes again

    • Henry Holland


  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Steel replies:

  • Camille

    Wow. Why hasn’t this issue of the Wallace endowment’s strictures already come up some time ago?

    I fear what Sanford says above may be the case in this tragic case.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor


    • Camille

      “The Photo That Changed Jamie Lee Curtis’s Life”——-????

      Funny thing, I thought of Reader’s Digest the other day for the first time this milennium, while we were sailing up the Sawgrass Mill and passed old Pleasantville en route to Katonah.

      Wouldn’t it be rich and/or rare if such a staid old fixture of the last century would be the Achilles heel that stops all the current shenanigans?

      Custom-fit homes, indeed. Someone should go into the sale of “manufactured homes”.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        Well, Mrs. Casey altered the terms of her gift to the Washington Opera that enabled the company to keep the Casey money despite the new alliance with the Kennedy Center. For a while it was said that money would go to the MET in the Washington Opera ceased to be a self-governing entity.

        • Camille

          Meister QPF!

          I would like to express my appreciation for your posting of the “You stepped out of a dream” sequence — which thread, wohin? You are a sweetheart.

          Bye, boys —- I am off to Villa Camilla to beat the awful ozone layer here in the Big Apple. Perhaps the ozone layer is actually just fumes from all the bull and spin coming from NYCO. The entity formerly known as NYCO and now morphed into Canio’s Canny Players of Calabria.


      • brooklynpunk

        I remember Lila Wallace imperially sa-shayin thru the Great Hall of The Metrropolitan Museum, almost every other day screaming at her attendant flunkies , if she didn’t like the floral arrangements in the urns in the Main Hall which her Foundation endowment had given to the Museum… that is my main recollection , when I think of the The Reader’s Digest…lol!! made me real glad my salary at the MET didn’t come from her pocket…!

    • Porpora

      Funny as all get out!

      I hope the company rises like a Phoenix out the ashes of Susan Baker’s mistakes.

  • atalaya

    I completely support the unions here. The “new” NYCO offers them nothing so if NYCO goes out of business, they lose nothing. In preventing NYCO from going through with what NYCO is planning the unions are saying, “No way do you unilaterally screw the unions and still get to keep the prestige (albeit rapidly diminishing) that comes with being associated with NYCO.”

    The actions of NYCO, through the board and Steel, implied the unions could easily be ignored and were inconsequential. It’s great that the unions are standing up and saying, “Here we are.” For an opera company to treat its musicians and workers with such contempt is sickening.

    And the thing is, the unions knew NYCO was in trouble. They’re not stupid -- they understood NYCO’s precarious situation. They gave up salary and other concessions to help NYCO survive. If NYCO had said -- a couple of years ago -- that they planned to diminish the organization and move to a smaller venue, perhaps they could have worked with the unions to make it happen. “Here’s what we’d like to do. We need your input and we’d like to save as many union jobs as possible” -- the union may have been able to help. That they gave up a good chunk of money previously showed the unions are not unreasonable. Of course it would have helped if NYCO was being run by somebody who inspired confidence.

    Instead, NYCO extracted those concessions, does a horrible job of filling seats and raising money (they’re related), then unilaterally announces a move, ignores the unions, drops a bombshell basically offering them nothing, and announces a new season without even caring if the unions are going to sign on. And the union is supposed to quietly accept this?

    If NYCO goes under, the unions can’t be blamed.

    • Kleinzach2
      • You were warned. Moderated, and good riddance.

        • bassoprofundo

          when/what was his/her warning?

          • manou

            “La Cieca says:
            July 15, 2011 at 6:03 PM

            As I think I’ve said before, when Steel puts in 14 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week, 50 weeks a year, of literally backbreaking work, with 20 years of tenure, and with little expectation of being able to work past the age of 50 due to the physical wear and tear inherent in the job, then we can compare him to a stagehand.

            The next person who start throwing around “fatcat stagehands” phony statistics into an argument gets moderated, hard.”

          • CruzSF

            July 15, 2011: La Cieca wrote:The next person who start throwing around “fatcat stagehands” phony statistics into an argument gets moderated, hard.

            See comment 14.2 at:

          • CruzSF

            manou, such lightning fast fingers you have.

          • manou

            …must be all those piano lessons with Mademoiselle Pappo.

          • oedipe

            manou, Cruz,
            I am impressed! What did you use as a cue to do your search? You couldn’t possibly remember the exact wording of the initial post, or did you?

          • manou

            Mrs Mnemonic -- that’s me…

          • CruzSF

            Unfortunately, I had to do it the hard way. I remembered the warning, and the thread from a few days ago. Then I went to the thread and searched for “stagehand” on the various pages. Voila! Copy and paste. As for manou, I believe she remembers EVERYTHING.

          • manou

            I am very impressed that you searched for “stagehand”….but it is easier to look for La Cieca’s pink bits.

          • Batty Masetto

            I’m sorry, fond as I am of La Cieca, I do not want to look at her pink bits.

          • CruzSF


          • manou

            You might be startled by what you would find there.

          • CruzSF

            well, that didn’t come off the way I’d hoped. But yes, I’ll look for La Cieca’s pink bits the next time! (oooo, that really does send a shiver down my spine)

          • manou

            I did think you had had a premature expostulation there, Cruz.

          • oedipe

            Unfortunately, I had to do it the hard way. I remembered the warning, and the thread from a few days ago.

            You managed to remember the THREAD and you call it “the hard way”? I don’t remember where I put my own keys, let alone what thread something came from! Nor do I know what LC’s pink bits are!!!

          • manou

            Cher oedipe -- you are in a pink bit at this very moment.

          • CruzSF

            And I’ve been working on slowing down my expostulations, too. :-(

            oedipe, I often can’t find my keys either. I clearly remember only the important bits in life.

          • oedipe

            P.S. Nor do I know WHERE La Cieca’s pink bits are!

          • MontyNostry

            J-I, Cruz?

          • MontyNostry

            Aha, I see it was ]-I!

          • CruzSF

            I followed instructions on a Website to do this, but it didn’t work:

          • manou

            Cruz, oedipe -- your keys are on your key rings.

          • CruzSF

            It’s almost like we were in the same room, manou!

          • Batty Masetto

            A premature expostulation at the sight of La Cieca’s pink bits. Now that’s what I call a fan!

          • oedipe

            Cruz, oedipe – your keys are on your key rings.

            Well, you see, that’s the catch: I don’t use key rings so as not to lose all my keys at the same time..

          • Batty Masetto

            Strange to find this little exchange under “Must … reach … endowment” …

          • oedipe

            Le hasard fait bien les choses…

          • manou


      • atalaya

        That blows my mind that somebody actually has a though process like that.

        To think that every union member at NYCO made 290k/yr is ridiculous. Is that really what the public perception is? Are people really this stupid?

        “Lincoln Center stagehands made 290k. They’re in a union. Therefore EVERY union member made 290k.” Even though stagehands at NYCO must have made much, much less. NYCO stagehands

        Choristers made what, around 35k last year? Orchestra members, how much? They had accepted paycuts even.

        And somehow the unions are going to take the fall for NYCO’s incompetence and mismanagement? No f’in way.

      • brooklynpunk

        The “Washington Examiner” is.. if it is at all possible… to the extreme right of even “The Washington Times.”.. so much for that “reliable” source…

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    The City Opera Thrift Shop:

    Need a ride there? NYCO will reimburse your taxi fare (up to $12 with receipt) when you drop by with a donation -- or “for larger donations including furniture, clothing, home accessories, and more, we will schedule our friendly and courteous truckers to come to you. We make pick-ups Tuesday -- Saturday between 8:00 am -- 2:00 pm.”

    The website also lists the following staff:
    George Steel -- General Manager and Artistic Director
    George Manahan -- Music Director
    Press Contact -Maggie McKeon, Director of Public Relations
    ARCHIVES -Susan Woelzl -- Director of Archives
    Edward C. Yim -- Director of Artistic Planning
    Steven Blier- Casting Advisor
    David Titcomb -Orchestra Manager
    Artistic Administration -Cory Lippiello
    Artistic Administrator -Vincent J. Madonna
    Company Manager & Artistic Coordinator -Jeffrey Guimond
    Artistic Planning & Rehearsal Administrator -- no name

    Music Staff
    Kevin Murphy
    Director of Music Administration
    Charles Frederic Prestinari
    Chorus Master
    Sharon Bjorndal Lavery
    Children’s Chorus Director
    Nicholas Fox
    Assistant Chorus Master
    Teresa McKinney
    Acting Director of Education
    Kimberly Goodis
    Manager of Audience Development
    Erika Rauer
    Staff Teaching Artist
    Dimitri Kontos
    School Program Administrator
    Gerald A. Brown
    Music Director, Elementary

    Robert K. Meya
    Director of Development
    Kristen Gelinas
    Assistant to the Director of Development & Campaign Coordinator

    Amy Gross
    Director of Individual Giving
    Chantel Foretich
    Development Officer
    Dana Gluck
    Manager of Stewardship & Board Relations
    Mark Roper
    Associate Manager of Membership
    Gabriella Barton
    Manager of Patron Services
    Michael Gary
    Director of Institutional Gifts

    Aimee Calandria
    Director of Sponsorship

    Mark Moorman
    Director of Development Communications

    Sabrina Martin
    Director of Special Events
    Marie Masters
    Manager of Special Events
    Patrick Carter
    Special Events Associate

    Dale Aucoin
    Assistant Director of Donor Information
    Jordana Kier
    Assistant to the General Manager & Artistic Director

    Peter Gee
    CFO and Director of Administration
    Alexandra Winogora
    Assistant to the CFO & Director of Administration
    Lexi Robertson
    Budget Manager
    Leah Johnson
    Payroll Administration
    Edgar Donoso
    Accounts Payable Manager

    Tom Trayer
    Director of Marketing
    Sharon Marmora
    Assistant Director of Marketing
    Jeff Covello
    Webmaster & Online Assets Manager
    Mark Yachnin
    Marketing Systems Manager
    Kyle Fox
    Marketing Assistant

    Creative Services
    Victor-John Villanueva
    Art Director
    Sean Riley
    Production Designer

    Group and Events Sales
    Maura Leahy
    Group & Event Sales Manager
    Alyssa Dreifus
    Group & Event Sales Account Executive
    Katie Lawton
    Group Sales Administrator
    Matthew Macri
    Group and Event Sales Program Facilitator

    Retail Operations and Volunteer Services
    Eric Hagmueller
    Retail Operations and Volunteer Services
    Jay Thompson
    Thrift Shop Manager
    Jordan Agusti
    Volunteer Services Assistant
    Maggie McKeon
    Director of Public Relations
    Shara Seigel
    Publicity Coordinator
    Carol Rosegg
    Staff Photographer
    Barbara Wohlsen
    Director of Production

    Chuck Giles
    Technical Director
    Joseph S. Gasperec
    Scott Levine
    Assistant Technical Directors

    Tess James
    Lighting Director
    Dan Gallagher
    Nick Kolin
    Assistant Lighting Director

    Karin M.White
    Properties Coordinator
    Scott Brodsky
    Assistant Properties Coordinator

    James Holder
    Wardrobe Director
    Bettina Bierly
    Wardrobe Master
    Ginger Blake
    Russ Vogler
    Costume Supervisors
    Maria L. Merino
    Workroom Supervisor

    Hair & Makeup
    Suzy Alvarez
    Director of Hair and Makeup
    Tom Molinelli
    Makeup Supervisor

    Lisa Jablow
    Melissa Wegner
    Supertitles Associate

    The total number of choristers still on the website is 26
    The Orchestra members are listed here:

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Here is the perfect piece for the New City Opera -- The Verdi Requiem in an arrangement for voice and recorders, sample here:
    Complete recording here:,_Giuseppe)

  • il Rogo

    There is a negotiation meeting between Steel and the unions Wednesday july 20 at 9 AM sharp. Anyone want to speculate on how long that meeting actually lasts?

    • brooklynpunk

      yup… atta boy… lets “speculate” the absolute WORST…. in fact… why even have the meeting at all.?.. let’s just “tell” what happened… with our pre-conceived opinions, ….

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      We await your reports of the results of said meeting. The kid has balls just to attend it. I hope he’s bringing backups and members of the NYCO Board.

  • balabanov11

    has anyone mentioned here that in Steel’s fantasy season of next year, he has listed two productions at BAM -- BAM is a union house. Does he really think stagehands and the wardrobe dept are going to cross of picket line to set and clothe whatever scabs he can come up with? just another reason why the entire idea of next season is a scam.

  • Henry Holland

    Speaking of incompetent opera management, can somebody *please* get Placido Domingo out of Los Angeles? Pretty please? A live boy, a dead girl, whatever it takes. PLEASE?

    LA Opera has regretfully withdrawn from a potential collaboration to present the Hungarian opera Bánk Bán, by Ferenc Erkel, as an addition to our 2011/12 Season. Both the Company and our Hungarian colleagues have worked tirelessly to try and make this production possible, and I was particularly looking forward to the opportunity to conduct the first major production of this little-known masterwork in the United States

    So, to recap: Domingo announces with great fanfare a while back the addition of a 7th opera to the paltry 2011-12 season, an opera that no one outside of the small Hungarian immigrant community here is clamoring for, that he --surprise! surprise!-- was going to conduct but now is put off to a future season (i.e. will never be produced here).

    There’s that little project called Recovered Voices that is still awaiting the production of its final promised opera, Die Tote Stadt, and yet the management of LAO decides to do a piece that’s obscure outside the borders of Hungary. Unreal.

    • brooklynpunk


      I am only ..perhaps.. marginally Hungarian ( I’m sure , sometime, in my family tribes eternal wanderings, that someone past through Budapest…) BUT I would have LOVED to see and hear “Bank Ban”-- and quite disappointed that it will not be done , in LA…

      “Die Tote Stadt” on the other hand.. as much as I love it.. has been done ALL OVER THE FRIGGIN COUNTRY… nothing rare, in the slightest, anymore, about that work, nu?

    • m. croche

      Wait a minute -- what’s the matter with Erkel? His music can be rather nice. In a previous thread you were complaining about the inertia that causes worthwhile operas to languish unperformed. Now you’re sniggering at an “obscure” opera?

      Since I tend to feel that Korngold is currently overrated, and since there was just a Tote Stadt in SF in 2008, I’d say the Erkel performance would have made a superior contribution to American operatic culture.

      A little cimbalomania:

    • Henry Holland

      You’re both missing my point.

      “Die Tote Stadt” on the other hand.. as much as I love it.. has been done ALL OVER THE FRIGGIN COUNTRY… nothing rare, in the slightest, anymore, about that work, nu?

      What on earth? It was done at NYCO --remember them?-- in 2001 (great performance) and 2006 and San Francisco in 2008, 3 productions in 10 years hardly equals ALL OVER THE FRIGGIN COUNTRY! Yes, it’s enjoyed a revival in German speaking Europe, non-German speaking Europe a bit. As we all know, those things can change quite quickly.

      And again, I’ll note that something like DTS is now considered “overplayed” but the greatest hits of Mozart, Verdi and Puccini get 20 times the overexposure, in often utterly mediocre performances, but no one seems to really complain about *that*. The double standards in the opera world just never cease to amaze me.

      More to the point, the Recovered Voices project was a major initiative by LAO, it’s a personal project for James Conlon. So, they can’t do the final production in that project because of money issues but they can import an opera that literally no one outside of serious opera fans has heard of. At least with DTS, LAO could play up the “Hey, famous Hollywood film composer wrote an opera!!!” angle.

      Plus, this was AGAIN shaping up to be a Domingo vanity project, and we’ve had enough of those here. I guarantee you, if the opera was produced, the publicity materials would have a huge picture of Domingo smiling beneficently, the copy something along the lines of “Maestro Domingo rescues from obscurity this Hungarian masterpiece! Get your tickets NOW!!!!”.

      In a previous thread you were complaining about the inertia that causes worthwhile operas to languish unperformed. Now you’re sniggering at an “obscure” opera?

      I’m not “sniggering” at it at all, I’ve not heard a note of it. To point out that it’s obscure in the wider opera world outside of Hungary and that there’s NOT a groundswell of people in Los Angeles demanding the piece be done while chunks of the standard rep still haven’t been done here is not sniggering.

      Since I tend to feel that Korngold is currently overrated

      Considering that he was a source of cruel mockery for over 60 years --Hahahaha more Korn than gold!!-- and still isn’t taken that seriously as a “serious” composer in some quarters because moved to Hollywood to make a living (and litterally saved his family from the death camps in the process*), it’s about time he was “overrated” for a bit.

      As for the “it was done in SF recently”, that’s a joke. It’s a constant source of amusement amongst me and my friends in both here and in San Francisco that the three major companies in California (LA, SF and SD) never seem to talk to each other about what they’re doing, there was one season about 10 years ago that they all did Don Giovanni. It’s a big state, not everyone travels to hear opera.

      * he wasn’t mocked for that, of course

      • brooklynpunk


        I am certainly NOT “complaining” about the number of performances that DTS receives( I don’t think there can be too many….)… but you tend to kvetch a little too much concerning works that don’t seem to “rock your (own) boat” … (closed-mindedness seems to run both ways , HERE,-- and a desire for the new and fresh doesn’t seem to preclude one’s own reactionary view-points towards other people’s likes, eh?)

        I seem share a great interest in much of the same rep ( modern) as you do. ( while still loving pre -Turandot oldies, as well..). and don’t wanna fight over it… but it SEEMS that there might have been room for both DTS and the Hungarian work… BUT-- it seems we are getting..NEITHER ONE, NOW…

        …THEM’S THE BREAKS, in the tough times we’re living in, I guess…..

        • Henry Holland

          (closed-mindedness seems to run both ways , HERE,

          What on earth on you talking about? I have no animus toward Bank Ban or people who like it or people in the Los Angeles basin dying for it to be produced here. I was simply commenting on the inept management of my local opera company and the pathetic claim by you that DTS was “done all over the country”.

          I want my local opera company to actually exist in five years, not be left a smoldering ruin by a dilettante manager (and his inept underling) who somehow manages to find resources for productions that he’s personally involved in and can simply walk away after his contract is mercifully up in 2013. Does the history of his running of the WNO in D.C. not matter at all?

          This city went without a professional opera company until 1986 (it was all failed attempts and touring companies before that), I have no doubt whatsoever that if LAO folded, there’d be few tears shed by the majority of people here, if they even noticed it was gone.

          but it SEEMS that there might have been room for both DTS and the Hungarian work

          That’s the WHOLE FUCKING POINT! There WASN’T!!! When the Recovered Voices project was announced in 2007, it was said to be almost fully funded, they just needed to do a bit of fundraising. They then treated it like a red-headed stepchild as I’ve noted here before, to the point that the original director of Die Gezeichneten, Olivier Tambosi, walked out because they had taken a chunk of his budget and used it for the “Ring”.

          They then “postpone” DTS, part of a project near and dear to James Conlon, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it never gets produced here.

          Domingo then has the GALL 8 months after that postponement to announce out of the blue that they’re going to do an opera that wasn’t even a rumor 2 days before that press release, LAO going to the trouble (i.e. having to do fundraising for their cut) and expense of basically importing an entire company of Hungarians to do an opera that would be a very tough sell in the best of times. For a very similar situation here’s an article by Alan Rich about the production of Arshak II up in San Francisco in 2001. Note especially the fourth paragraph.

          It has nothing to do with not getting a DTS, I’ll survive, it has everything to do with them treating an artistic initiative that was launched to great fanfare and actually made them stand out from the crowd and increasingly acting like it’s something they wish would go away unless they can plunder funds from it.

          If you can’t see why that angers me, frustrates me and makes me wonder who the hell is making the decisions at the LAO, I don’t know what to tell you.

          • Henry Holland

            was announced in 2007

            Sorry, it was announced in 12/2006.

      • m. croche

        Henry Holland 1: I pulled out Werner Egk’s Peer Gynt and gave it a spin. It’s a very nice opera, firmly tonal, the vocal lines well written and upfront, nice orchestral bits, a vein of short-breathed melodicism evident throughout and it seems that it would work as drama. Why isn’t this performed? It’s the old vicious circle: it’s never performed, so to take a chance on it is a big financial risk (especially given how risk-adverse most of the opera audience is) so it’s never done but that means it never has a chance to build an audience for hearing it.


        Henry Holland 2a: So, they can’t do the final production in that project because of money issues but they can import an opera [Bank Ban] that literally no one outside of serious opera fans has heard of.

        Henry Holland 2b: I’m not “sniggering” at it at all, I’ve not heard a note of [Bank Ban]. To point out that it’s obscure in the wider opera world outside of Hungary and that there’s NOT a groundswell of people in Los Angeles demanding the piece be done while chunks of the standard rep still haven’t been done here is not sniggering.

        Zwei Seelen wohnen, Ach!, in seiner Brust.

        Auf Englisch: There appear to be no rules to this game.

        • Henry Holland

          Fine, I’m a hyprocrite, I have far worse personal failings.

          Still, it really IS hypocrisy for LAO to issue a press release in April 2010 announcing the scaling back of the Recovered Voices project with one opera to go, blaming it on financial woes (woes of their own making, of course) and claiming inanely “the company is working on the shape of the series” and that the new “shape” would be announced “soon” --there’s not been a peep about it in the subsequent 15 months-- but turn around a mere 8 months later and announce the possible production of ANOTHER freakin’ vanity project for the GM of said financially strapped company (see also: zarzuela; The Merry Widow in Spanish and so on), only to see that turn to dust as well?

          My personal struggles with logic and consistency aside, you get why I’m more than a little miffed, right?

  • DonCarloFanatic

    The Summer Opera Theatre of Washington, DC, gave Die Tote Stadt in the 2000s. That was the only show of theirs where I could buy a close-in orchestra ticket and there were empty seats at the performance. Clearly it was not a popular choice. That company went out of business in the recession despite many well-attended productions of more typical fare: Rigoletto, Trovatore, Carmen, etc.

    Not too far away, the Baltimore Opera, which dared to put on Lakme, The Siege of Corinth, The Bartered Bride (in Czech), Maria Stuarda, and Norma during that decade also went out of business at the same time. I never saw the Baltimore opera house other than crowded, but as we well know, filling the seats is not enough to keep an opera company in business.

    Presumably Domingo could not find a sponsor to promise to make up for the lower ticket sales that a relatively obscure work would produce. Rather than send the LA Opera into a financial downspin (hmm…sound familiar?), he chose to opt for more conventional fare that would pay more of the bills and make the business of getting sponsors to cough up big bucks a little less urgent. I don’t think he can be faulted for that.

    • Henry Holland

      It’s hilarious how you go from “I went to DTS, there were empty seats” to detailing the demise of two separate opera companies.

      I don’t think he can be faulted for that

      So, he and his underlings create a huge mess by a series of poor decisions > does what any sane arts administrator would do in the aftermath and he’s supposed to get credit for that? Wow.