There’s a brilliant piece on Bloomberg Muse today by its editor, Manuela Hoelterhoff, who has watched the decline and fall of City Opera from some of the best seats in the house. As with Edward Gibbon, the fall of empire makes stronger reading than its rise and Manuela sure knows how to tell and story and who’s to blame. Pulitzer jury, please note.
Of recent matters, George Steel was a hopeless pick as manager, she’s said so all along. But the board who appointed him were brazenly negligent in this and so many financial matters that you’d think the boys in blue might start to rattle the handcuffs. She names Susan Baker, Mark Newhouse and Mary Sharp Cronson as chief miscreants. She calls it dead right.
Here’s a sample:
It’s shocking how little attention is paid to the boards
that control our cultural institutions.
NYCO had big problems all along. The State Theater, too big
for the People’s Opera, was built for the New York City Ballet,
which owns the lucrative Christmas season with George
Even that amazing fundraiser Beverly Sills, in her heyday
as general director, ate herself fat wooing patrons to cover the
But to end as a two-bit touring company expiring in the
wake of a pathetic Kickstarter campaign really stretches my
suspenders of disbelief.
Read the full article here.