The New York Times online recently reported that the City Opera is parting ways with its new "emprasario." I first reported on the attempt to do a makeover of sorts on a post here earlier this year. When I reported earlier this year about the Operas risk of bringing in a new director known for shaking things up and producing a season of 20th century operas, I felt enthusiastic about the movement. Now the latest report appears to indicate some of the effect of the current recession enveloping the world.
Seems that Mortier is leaving because the opera could not come up with the 66 million dollar production budget promised to him to produce the new season. The article even mentions that that number was in his contract! (note to self, get promises in writing!)
Evidently the $36 million budget they were offering was unnacceptable because, “I cannot go to run a company that has less than the smallest company in France.” Mortier had suggested running a deficit to "show potential new donors what the company could do."
I have been watching for signs of how the economy will impact the arts and this is one of the first I have seen. Fortunately, the article states they will go forward with the renovation of their facility!
We've all been watching to see how this recession will affect the arts and clearly there are signs that it will. It's interesting to me that Operas survive to some extent on the grandeur of their productions. The article even mentions that this kills the possibility of a rivalry with the Metropolitan Opera. Mortier also states that if one season could be produced it woulld galvanize the fund raising. I guess it is all about "big and bold." Should be interesting to watch these scenarios play out.
In true Operatic form Mortiers last comment in the article relates to looking for a new job - but worrying that now that he is 65, "perhaps nobody wants me." The fat lady sang.