Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forget about Lucretia, this was The Rape of City Opera

Do you want to know what is completely and utterly ridiculous? Good - because I'm just about to tell you, anyway.

New York City Opera, which has been suffering under immense deficits, shelled out some $400,000 to a certain part-time general-manager in-waiting Gerard Mortier [R.].

Mortier, who never actually served at full capacity as general manager, earned a salary of $65,000 and “severance” of $335,000. Let's not forget that City Opera hired Mortier in February 2007 when he was still running Paris Opera. He was expected to take up his position in New York in September 2009. Instead, he never arrived and resigned in November 2008, saying City Opera’s budget cuts amid the global financial crisis prevented him from fulfilling his vision.

According to
Mortier and the City Opera board, led by Susan Baker, “mutually agreed that it was not possible to proceed with the plan for Mr. Mortier to lead the company,” a City Opera spokesman, Pascal Nadon, said in an e-mail.

Hence, Mortier qualified for the $335,000 “separation payment,” Nadon said.
The severance payment, a surprise to many, appears on City Opera's 2009 tax return along with smaller payments to departing executives ... among them the artistic administrator, Robin Thompson, and the executive director, Jane Gullong. The tax return also suggests that City Opera’s financial problems remain considerable.

Forget about Lucretia - this was The Rape of City Opera ... Mortier clearly took advantage of them. What kind of person does that to a company that is struggling as much as City Opera was?

Paybacks are hell, Mortier... what goes around, comes around and I have a feeling yours is going to come around like a fully loaded freight train.

Did I just say that out loud? Woooops - my mic was on.

Aaaand, we're moving on...

The better news is it appears that City Opera is on the mend. This last season, the first under George Steele, succeeded beyond the expectations of many fans and press alike - and, next season promises to have the ability to get some butts in the seats, too.

Friendlies, let's face the facts: Bernstein's A Quiet Place, which encapsulates his 1 act opera Trouble in Tahiti (indeed!), is on the docket. In addition, Stephen Schwartz first opera Seance on a Wet Afternoon, which had it's World Premiere at Opera Santa Barbara is slated as well. You've got Christine Brewer singing a concert, as well as Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz- a retrospective of his music set to include performances by Kristin Chenoweth and Raul Esparza... and those are just some highlights.

What's not to love? I say: Bring it on.

By the way:
Dearest City Opera,

If you should perhaps feel the need to invite a certain Yours Truly to some of your goings-on next season ... I'd be *more* than delighted to cover them.


Thanking you in advance.

A Liberal's Libretto
Was that too much?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the HUGE expenses incurred by NYCO to buy out all of the pay-to-play contracts that Mortier doled out. Huge expense.

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