Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blind-Item Bombshell

Oh wow, that's the first time I've ever gotten the answer to one of these! La Cieca buzzes:
Industry insiders are whispering that a certain impresario who recently upgraded his career from uptown new music maven to regional opera honcho may be about to prove that he is the Superman who will turn NYCO around.
"Superman"? You mean the Man of Steel? If true, this is GREAT news. George Steel is one of the best things to happen to the NYC classical scene in a long, long time, and as you may recall, has already given the New York premieres of a few operas—What Next by Elliott Carter; Lost Highway by Olga Neuwirth—too bold for the city's more mainstream institutions. Will he be leaving his new position in Dallas for the City Opera? If so, then so much the worse for Dallas, but if not, well, it's certainly not impossible to oversee more than one company at once—that Plácido character wears about twenty hats, but they all seem to fit. What's more, Steel has a great feel for what the city wants. At Miller Theatre, he found a niche: he looked around, saw what Manhattan was missing, and presented it very, very well. The City Opera leadership, working in the shadow of that big, big house across the plaza, requires just that same skill-set. I see this ship un-sinking.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, Opera is a dead genre. Even the greatest proponents are unable to save it. There are few reasons to go see one anymore unless it's the one about Koresh, or possibly any of the ones by Kyle Gann.

December 17, 2008 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Dan Johnson said...

AnOn, You have a funny habit of extrapolating your extremely narrow tastes into extremely broad declarations.

This makes them pretty easy for me to disprove: if opera is dead, if the symphony is dead, how come it still works on me? Your inability to enjoy something does not constitute a global failure of an entire genre of artistic endeavors. If the only operas you like were written by Kyle Gann, that says far worse things about you than it does about the operas of, say, Mozart. Mozart > Gann.

(Although, "Do you KNOW who I AM?" Pretty catchy.)

December 17, 2008 at 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Johnson,

Perhaps it is more correct to say that Opera as it was once known has changed. Our new operas are General Hospital, and Once Life to Live. You can get the picture. "Classical Music" is more or less dead. More people are more easily moved by Brittney Spears's "Womanizer" song and video then they are by some abstract dissertation project, or some over played tripe by some old dead white guy. "Do you KNOW who I AM" is rather catchy which is what helps make it good.

December 18, 2008 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Marcus said...

RE: The above, opera and orchestral music aren't dead, although the enterprises that have been organized to deliver this music to the public are in big trouble (Opera Pacific, Baltimore, Santa Rosa Orchestra, Pasadena Orchestra, etc.) I have been working in 'classical' music for more than 20 years, and see more interesting work happening now than ever before. The problem is that not much of it is happening at the events put on by the traditional opera and orchestra companies.

RE: Man of Steel.

I have met George professionally and find him to be arrogant and off-putting and at the same time an incredibly talented and smart impressario. The best I have seen since Harvey Lichtenstein made bam into BAM. Having him run NYCO would be a masterstroke of genius.

December 18, 2008 at 12:26 PM  

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