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WNO in KenCen talks

In Friday's Washington Post: Questions for WNO as it negotiates Kennedy Center contract, by Anne Midgette.

By Anne Midgette  |  July 29, 2010; 11:28 PM ET
Categories:  Washington , news , opera  
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Are there any other venues in DC which could sustain a WNO season?

Posted by: ianw2 | July 30, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I've heard that some people think we should nationalize the Washington National Opera rather than hand over its operation to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts. Why was this option not covered in your article?


Posted by: Lindemann777 | July 30, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Washington Opera was a successful opera company here for years, with a long season, splendid new productions each year by Zack Brown, and a FULL-TIME General Director, Martin Feinstein. Costumes and scenery were produced locally, contributing to the DC arts scene. Domingo's name was rented by the board. What they got was an artistic bully, who elbowed himself and his wife into high-paying positions with ever more titles with each contract re-negotiation. The board thought they could get away with merely a big name, and not the hard day-to-day work of a fulltime arts manager.
As a native Washingtonian, I am saddened that Domingo was allowed to kill a vibrant local organization. The board allowed him to have his way, and to change the name of the company to Washington National Opera. Domingo spoke crazily about getting Congress to underwrite the organization. When the name change occurred, costly brochures were mailed to all, with Domingo and smiling congress reps and senators beaming on 6 pages. Domingo said he want America to have a National Opera like they do in Mexico and in Europe. He refused to accept the American model of arts funding.

The board now talks about "heroic" giving that is needed. What is needed is a board that will not allow itself to be pummeled by Domingo's selfish demands and lack of understanding arts financing today in America. Any donor with a brain will look to the leadership. When there is no real CEO of Washignton Opera with Domingo running his many enterprises from airplanes and sickbeds and through subalterns, whose vision and work is really at the helm??? He is currently bankrupting not only Washington Opera, but also Los Angeles Opera, whose position he took, as a surprise to the Washington Board who originally thought that they had his loyalty, and at least a little of his time. If Domingo has any integrity, he will resign NOW, and let the company reform. It is a real irony that one of opera's greatest singers may ultimately be remembered for killing opera, from his greed and hubris. The boards which he made subservient will be remembered for introducing opera to the Peter Principal, promoting someone to his level of incompetence. Washington Opera needs a resurrection as Chicago Lyric Opera had when it once faced bankruptcy, and was led by the visionary Ardis Krainik.
An unforgivable sin of Domingo is that he also killed the donation of an opera house ( the to-be-remodeled Woodward & Lothrop Department Store). This could have been a creative cornerstone of truly involving all of the Washington area in making opera a real presence in our city, and spawned many opera supporters and guilds. Instead, Domingo wanted trickle down largesse from congress. Domingo has lost audience, donors, goodwill, and diminished the arts in our nation's capital by fueling a cult of ego, rather than productions of moving and singular beauty and power as Washington Opera did pre-Domingo. FLACIDO, YOU FLOPPED! And Zarzuela..

Posted by: petronius88 | July 30, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

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