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Friday, December 23, 2011

Opera Boston Shuts Down

Season cancelled, doors closed. Merry Christmas.
Opera Boston: 2003-2011.
Opera Boston, the innovative company whose 2011 productions included a stellar version of Paul Hindemith's Cardillac and Hector Berlioz' Beatrice et Benedict, has announced that it will cease operations on January 1, 2012.

According to a report in Boston Business Journal, the city's second-largest opera company faced "insurmountable" fundraising difficulties in 2011, despite good ticket sales and innovative choices in repertory.

Opera Boston staged its performances at the 1903 Cutler Majestic Theater, located in the heart of that city's theater district. The company launched in 1993 with summer performances as "Opera Unlimited" featuring repertory like Thomas Ades' chamber opera Powder Her Face. Later that year, the company began its run at the Majestic with Leonard Bernstein's Candide and John Adams' Nixon in China. 

The announcement came 24 hours after employees were informed that the company was going out of business.  "The company has had many artistic triumphs in its recent history," said company chair Winifred Gray. "However, as the end of the year approaches, we find ourselves in a financially untenable situation, and the responsible thing is to work with our creditors and cease operations."

"The board realizes that this development will come as a shock to the Boston arts community, and it is not a decision we made lightly," Gray said in the statement.

A planned Spring 2012 season would have included an eagerly anticipated performance of Sir Michael Tippett's opera The Midsummer Marriage, and Bellini's Shakespeare adaptation I Capuletti e i Montecchi.

The last time a Boston opera company closed was in 1990 when Sarah Caldwell's Boston Opera Company shuttered its doors. The announcement leaves the Boston Lyric Opera as the city's main professional opera company.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.