Sunday, July 12, 2009

More tech stuff

Huge comments after my last post!  I guess that's what happens when you are the Opera America Blog of the Month (if you haven't noticed, I'm going to be milking that for all its worth....more than its worth actually).  God mikes, headsets, and director/actor translation are all worth their weight in gold as far as I am concerned.  I don't like yelling.  Have I mentioned that?  Unless it's being done by Chris Farley, I can do without it.  

There's a lot of non-Figaro stuff to talk about.  First of all, this Skylight stuff is amazing.  Someone should be writing an opera about it, or at the very least, an NBC movie of the week.  So on July 9, the Skylight Board announced that they had spoken to Bill Theisen about returning to the Skylight as Artistic Director for next season.  Can you imagine?  Would you want to go back to a place that had just fired you without warning?  And how do they suddenly have the money to re-hire him?  Bill released a statement the next day that he couldn't return as AD under the current circumstances, that there has been a breach of trust, and that he doesn't think he could perform his duties as AD the way things are right now.   I can't say that I blame him.  So now what's going to happen?  Are they going to look for a new Artistic Director, or go with their original plan and have no Arts leadership?  I encourage you to read Tom Strini's blog, ArtsySchmartsy, and Tony Clements' blog if you are at all interested in this saga.  These guys are way more engrained in the Milwaukee arts community, and have done some darn good reporting on it.  Plus, on Tony's blog, there's this great letter to the Skylight board from an ex-board member saying that artists only exist because they (i.e. the board and the donors) have hired them to perform a service.  In other words we, as artists, are employees, and should just shut up and sing.  

Meanwhile, my other artistic home, The Minnesota Opera just put out a statement that, in a nasty fiscal year, they finished the season in the black and their capacity is up 5 1/2% from last year.  This is also the season they started their Opera Works project, an initiative to champion new works in the opera house (they are already over halfway to their $7 million goal for Opera Works).  Say what you will about Minnesota, but they have a keen artistic vision, and they have stuck with it in hard times.  Hell, they have renewed their commitment to their vision, and the audiences and donors have answered in kind.  

I'm not saying that Skylight and MN Op are anything alike.  They aren't, really.  But if you are running an arts organization, I think you have to have an artistic vision, and you have to have arts leadership to see it through. And when times get sucky, you can't just bail on it- the leadership or the vision.   

Ok, enough already- I'll get off my soapbox.  Running a company is damn hard, and I'm glad it's not my job.  

Back to the big Fig....We have another tech tonight.  I'm going to try not to look mad.  We rehearse until midnight tonight, then have a sitz AND an orchestra dress tomorrow.  Whee!  I think we are in good shape.  There are some eggy moments here and there, but I think they will tighten up at our dresses.  The english feels a lot more comfy this time around than it did in Lafayette (still sounds awkward though- that can't be helped I'm afraid).

More award-winning material to come later.


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