Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Drama Drop -

* The Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón has withdrawn from his remaining performances of L’Elisir d’Amore at the Metropolitan Opera, citing his bout with an acute case of laryngitis. Mr. Villazón was scheduled to sing the role of Nemorino in the Donizetti opera on Wednesday and Saturday, as well as on April 15 and 18. Casting changes include: Barry Banks, who recently sang the role of Elvino in the Met’s production of La Sonnambula, will sing Nemorino on Wednesday; a tenor for Mr. Villazón’s remaining performances has not been announced. Joseph Calleja is scheduled to sing the role on April 22.

* More pay cuts for symphony members. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is facing a $3 million debt and an endowment down a quarter. So, on Monday, ASO announced a second round of salary cuts. Its 95 musicians (all union workers) will see their paychecks drop by 5 percent through 2010, with a 3.8 percent cut in 2011. But, the cuts are going a little deeper to all members of the ASO family, from president Allison Vulgamore and music director Robert Spano to the administration and the musicians. Check out who made $619,315 in 2006 and how much that salary will be cut.

* Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, has purchased its own building in the core of Chicago's theater district. According to Steven DiPaola, an assistant executive with the union, Equity is considering moving some of the union's national back-office functions from New York to Chicago. In addition, the new office will house the headquarters of Equity's Central Region, an office that covers all Chicago theaters as well as such active theater cities as Minneapolis and Milwaukee. The Chicago Trib. quotes DiPaola as saying: "This move shows our confidence in Chicago and its theater community."

* If only more people made demands like this! Claudio Abbado, La Scala's legendary musical director, is set to return to the Milan opera house he stormed out of 23 years ago after a 20 year reign. After many failed attempts, the 75-year-old maestro agreed to return on one condition: "I'll come back if you plant 90,000 trees." Variety reports that the city's yearning for Abbado was so desperate, that it whipped up plans for "intercity woodlands" and even a new tree-lined path between the city's best-known landmarks, its cathedral and castle.

[Photos - Top: Pool Photo by Roberto Pfeil of tenor Rolando Villazón. Bottom: La Scala, Milan.]

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