“Dance has retreated to being just plain dance. The big companies, worldwide, are in the doldrums — what’s the last new piece that le tout New York had to go to? Who’s a star as exalted as the Margots and the Mishas? The ground has leveled: We’re reduced to the latest (exhausted) new wavelet at B.A.M., the smorgasbord at the Joyce, A.B.T.’s tired full-evening classics (except when they aren’t), and City Ballet’s 70th or 80th new piece by Peter Martins. And what about that scarily graying audience in those scarily unsold-out theaters?” Is the antidote a cheap dance festival with screaming fans?
Filmmaker David Lynch has decided to bypass the usual Hollywood system and self-distribute his latest film, a 3-hour digital epic called Inland Empire. Self-distribution is extremely unusual for a director as accomplished and bankable as Lynch.
“Gianandrea Noseda, 42-year-old principal conductor of the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic for four years, has extended his contract by two years and will now be known as chief conductor… Noseda has endeared himself to Manchester audiences and has won wide critical praise. He throws himself into a score (Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet for example) with passion, sometime crouching so low you fear he will end up on his knees or leaping so high that those in the front row of Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall prepare for his imminent arrival in their laps.”
Early this week, rumors were rampant in the orchestra biz that Edmonton Symphony managing director Elaine Calder was about to be snatched up as the next president of the Oregon Symphony. As it turns out, the rumors weren’t true, but Calder has agreed to serve as a consultant in Portland. The unusual arrangement will require the Edmonton Symphony board to approve Calder’s double duty.
The fight over the Barnes Foundation’s intended move to Center City Philadelphia has taken yet another unexpected turn, as a local congressman announces his plans to introduce a bill on the floor of the U.S. House which would block the move. The congressman claims that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s commitment of $25 million in state money to facilitate the move was the last straw in spurring him to act against the relocation.
Anyone who doubted whether a fully staged production of Wagner’s Ring could thrive at a suburban opera house (in this case, the Orange County Performing Arts Center outside L.A.) clearly doesn’t understand the obsessive nature of Wagner devotees. “If you stage the operas, pretty much anywhere, they will come, from pretty much anywhere else… ‘It helps to be a bit mad,'” says one Ring addict.
“More than 140 years after they were given up for God, the most prized items from the world-famous Dundas Collection of rare northwest native art are returning to their ancestral home in British Columbia. The 19 sacred artifacts of Tsimshian origin purchased at auction last week by two members of the Thomson family will be publicly exhibited at an undisclosed B.C. museum late this year or early next year. The collection’s permanent home is still undecided.”
A pending statewide smoking ban in Colorado would include a ban on actors smoking in theatrical productions, and the Denver theatre scene isn’t taking the action lying down. “The Curious Theatre Company will take pre-emptive action against the ban this morning, when it plans to file a lawsuit in Denver District Court against the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.” The suit contends that the ban constitutes a violation of the company’s right to free expression.
Palestinian television has launched its first-ever locally produced soap opera, and its immediate popularity says much about modern life in the Occupied Territories. “Politics are in the air, naturally, but are rarely center stage. References to guns and checkpoints are rare. In the one episode that deals with the road map – a US plan to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – most of the characters acknowledge that they don’t really know what the road map represents.”
Opera tends to be a fairly rigid form, from the narrow range of repertoire embraced by its devotees to the seemingly unbreakable tradition of the evening performance. But in the last several years, Lyric Opera of Chicago has discovered a surprising niche audience that has apparently been patiently waiting for someone to start offering weekday matinees. “The decision to add the extra matinees may have had a Field of Dreams effect on a certain demographic — the one made up of folks who might not feel quite as energetic as they used to when it comes to staying awake through an evening three-hour opera and, possibly, a long drive back to the suburbs around midnight.”