“City Opera had waited too long to reinvent itself, Mr. Steel said. ‘I wish we had gotten to the business at hand faster’.” [Wall Street Journal]
Nowhere did I call Steel an artistic genius. Nor did I say I liked the dull Telemann. If, however, he had done Carmen, people on here would have complained that he should have done something unusual. If it had been an hour long, people here would have bitched about being shortchanged.
And now the answer to how much was spent on the Telemann…no clue. I’m assuming you know.
What a stupid statement! Really. You can do better. Michael Kaiser himself said three years ago what the company should do: produce traditional operas that the publics wants to see. The public is not so educated as vapid opera queens.
Produce traditional operas that the public wants to see? Really, I don’t know anyone who went to City Opera for that. We have a place for that already.
What do you they financed all the unusual fare? You don’t know your history. You many not have gone to Traviata and Carmen. But plenty of people did which financed House of the Dead etc. That’s how it’s done.
Buh loney. The few core operas I went to played to half empty theaters while the unusual stuff was packed.
As a young person new to NYC, I was daunted by the presumed formality of the Met, and the presumed dress code, and I definitely feared the prices. So I went to standard rep at the NYCO for several years before getting up my courage and going across the plaza to see opera at the Met. If over the years the prices and the rep became pretty much the same, then the reason to avoid the standard rep at NYCO would be that the Met had stars doing the same operas. Make sense?
Email logged in about 30 minutes before curtain:
“Today we see the final performance of our successful run of the bold Anna Nicole. It has been such a joy to work on this vibrant and innovative opera, however it could well be the last performance in New York City Opera’s history.
I’m so proud of this production, and so proud of the good work that NYC Opera has been doing. It would be heartbreaking, for me and for so many others, to lose a company that brings such vital works to the stage and that introduces such important artists to the world.
We have until Monday to raise the rest of the money we need to save our season and save the Company….Thank you if you have already made a gift or a pledge!”
Successful? At what cost? Steel said (and these ears hear him say it) that he didn’t need the public. What he needed was critics and donors. That is who he put Anna Nicole on for. THAT is his success, which is nothing more than the hubris of a narcissist on the autism spectrum.
There are also lots of empty seats when he conducts. How did he ever convince the board of directors of an opera company that he cares a fig for opera?
Because his main donor got him the job, and she was on the board at the Miller Theater—that’s how. Money takes, that is, until it stops, which seems to have happened recently. Otherwise, Herr Steel would still be in business.
One thing cannot be denied: the influence of Andrea Bocelli on young singers!
Now to be fair, it can’t be easy singing Bocelli songs naked in a prison cell.
It is unfair to demonize Mr. Steel when the subject should be Susan Baker and the incompetent board who hired him. He arrived after the endowment was spent and the story’s end already known.
Can someone please help me understand this Kickstarter thing… I don’t get what happens to the money already donated if they don’t reach their goal. Does everyone get their money back? or if they reach, say, $300,000, does City Opera pocket that $300,000, even if it wasn’t their goal?
From a comment on the Lebrecht site:
“#1: it’s not free. Of that $1m, if they raise it, $50,000 will go straight into Kickstarter’s bottom line, and $30,000 to $50,000 will line the pockets of Amazon (who I think is the company that processes Kickstarter’s payments). These are the percentages Kickstarter shows on its own site (5% fee plus 3-5% payment charges).
Thus, around $100,000 of that $1m fundraising total will not go towards any opera. At that level, you could definitely afford to employ 2 or 3 members of staff to do your fundraising admin, and have a little left over to top up the marketing you’ll have to do in any case (people don’t just stumble across your Kickstarter page do they …)
But #2: if they don’t meet the $1m target then they get nothing, and all that effort and goodwill of hundreds of donors is just lost: pointless!“
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