Gerard Mortier's New York City Farewell
A quick comment -- before I dash off to the Met, as it happens, for Lepage's "Damnation of Faust" -- on Gerard Mortier's withdrawal from the New York City Opera. I'm sure the recession and the cancelled season has hit the board hard. Maybe Mortier could have adjusted slightly. But to contractually promise him $60 million and then only give him $36 million is too steep for most anyone to bear, especially for a visionary used to European subsidies.
People here have been shaking their heads ever since his appointment was announced, wondering when it would collapse. Now it has. Of course Mortier is a pugnacious provocateur. He is also a brilliant opera executive, the most exciting of our time. I will sorely miss his planned 2009-10 season and his other proposed projects beyond that. I'm sure (I hope) everyone on the board side approached this with good will and good faith. But even apart from the economic collapse, their choice of Mortier was probably naive. He was (probably) the wrong man for New York and that company.
But I will miss him and what he might have done here, and I hope he carries on somewhere else. If not, if he lets it all hang out, his memoirs should be something to cherish!
For an ongoing conversation and news reports about arts journalism, go to the blog of the National Arts Journalism Program, here.
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