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New York City Opera to pare season in 2009-10

New York City Opera to pare season in 2009-10

The New York City Opera is likely to present only five-to-seven productions when it returns to Lincoln Center for the 2009-10 season and might not offer any new stagings.
City Opera Chairwoman Susan Baker said Thursday the offerings would be wide-ranging and that the season of 20th-century works originally programmed by Gerard Mortier almost certainly would be scrapped under Mortier's replacement, George Steel.
The company will present staged operas only at its Lincoln Center home and will jettison Mortier's plan to perform at other venues throughout New York. The company hopes to announce a schedule in mid-March.
"It's a conscious effort to align ourselves with somebody whose artistic vision, at least as we've discussed it, will be less thematic and more diverse," she said. "Maybe in these difficult times, it's perhaps a wise thing to offer something for everybody as long as it's done excellently and with taste and care. And probably it's also a time to present to the world at large pieces which are challenging but which will entertain in some ways, as well."
Baker said the company will sustain an operating loss of $7 million to $10 million this season, partly because a planned Japan tour collapsed when a Japanese securities firm that had intended to sponsor the trip backed out.
Because of reconstruction at Lincoln Center, the company's 2008-09 season has been limited to a handful of concert performances. The highlight was two concerts at Carnegie Hall starting Thursday of Barber's "Antony and Cleopatra."
Mortier was hired in February 2007 as general manager and artistic director, effective with the 2009-10 season, but backed out in November after complaining he wasn't given a big enough budget.
Steel, who had just started in October as general director of the Dallas Opera, was hired Wednesday as City Opera's general manager and artistic director, effective Feb. 1. Before moving to Dallas, he had headed Columbia University's Miller Theatre.
His first season at City Opera will be weighted to the spring of 2010, partly because the company's theater will not be ready until October.
"We all think it would be just grand if we could have one new production, but I think that given the financial exigencies that we're all facing and the time pressures involved in putting together '09-10, it is conceivable we won't manage it," she said.
Baker said the company's schedule will expand only partly in 2010-11. "Certainly I can't imagine us getting back to 16 productions and 116 performances of the early 2000s," she said.
Baker would not discuss assertions by director Francesca Zambello that she had been offered the job of artistic director by Baker in a shared power arrangement with an executive director to be chosen, and that Baker then withdrew the offer last week.


Updated : 2021-05-07 16:25 GMT+08:00