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October 3, 2008

TT: Full disclosure

This is the last paragraph of today's Wall Street Journal drama column, in its entirety:

Footnote: Hildegard Bechtler, who designed the sets and costumes for the Royal Court Theatre's production of "The Seagull," is also working on the Santa Fe Opera's 2009 premiere of Paul Moravec's "The Letter," an opera for which I wrote the libretto. For the record, I have never had any contact of any kind with Ms. Bechtler, didn't recommend her to the Santa Fe Opera, and didn't even know that she had designed "The Seagull" until I read the press release for the show a couple of weeks ago.

I never expected to have to publish such an author's note in the Journal. Bechtler is based in Europe, not the United States, and the only other time her work (which I admire greatly) has been seen on Broadway was when the National Theatre of Great Britain's production of Anthony Sher's Primo came to New York in the summer of 2005 for a month-long run, long before I knew that she would have anything to do with The Letter.

As soon as I found out that Bechtler had designed The Seagull, I e-mailed my editors at the paper to ask what they wanted me to do. After due consideration they decided that I could write about The Seagull, provided that I said nothing about Bechtler's sets or costumes and disclosed my professional connection to her at the end of the review. Needless to say, I did just that.

I mention all this because I thought you'd like to know how such matters are handled at The Wall Street Journal, and that I take them as seriously as the Journal does.

Posted October 3, 2008 12:00 AM

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