Washington arts briefs
It’s still not fully official (and journalists have to wait til it’s official), but Diana Damrau is not going to be singing Hamlet at the Washington National Opera in May: Elizabeth Futral will step in as Ophelia to replace the soprano, who is (allegedly) pregnant. It must be something in the air: this opera, mounted this spring at the Met as a showcase for Natalie Dessay and in DC as a showcase for Damrau, ends up showcasing neither: Dessay cancelled in New York to be replaced by Marlis Petersen.
Other WNO news: Michelle Krisel, the long-time head of the Domingo-Cafritz program, is leaving at the end of the season to take over as general director of the Ash Lawn Opera.
The Washington Chorus’s music director, Julian Wachner, is in New York this weekend in a double-barrelled role with the New York City Opera’s VOX Contemporary Opera Lab, a workshop for ten (this year) new works in various stages of completion. Wachner will conduct the City Opera Orchestra in several of the works; he’s also there as a composer, since his own opera “Evangeline Revisited” will be performed on Saturday afternoon.
The Kennedy Center’s Michael Kaiser has a screed today in his Huffington Post column (not that Kaiser’s mild-mannered writing ever seems, on the face of it, very screed-like) about the poor training of arts administrators. It’s an intriguing point. I have no argument with the idea that a lot of non-profits are very poorly run, but I wouldn’t have thought of poor training as the first cause. I think one of the problems is that non-profit organizations are sometimes viewed as fragile hothouse flowers exempt from the rules of the business world. Often, the best arts administrators are people who have solid business training rather than special arts-administrator training. Like, for instance, Michael Kaiser. I also think boards appear to be doing increasingly more mischief; it seems to me there are ever more cases of boards thinking they actually run the organization, with unfortunate consequences. But that’s another story for another post.
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