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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tomato Pasting

Current Thoughts on New York City Opera

So I'm at Lincoln Center tonight. We were attending the mostly Beethoven concert at Mostly Mozart--review to follow. Anyway it's about 6:15 in the evening and we're sitting under the trees at the newly built "zen" plaza next to the Metropolitan Opera. I'm looking across the plaza at the former New York State Theater and I notice something interesting.

The sign on the building currently reads:

David H. K___ Theater
New York City Ballet. New York City Opera.

After the tumultuous off-season City Opera has been through, engaging in a George Steel-imposed exodus from its Lincoln Center home, I can't help but find it odd that their name is still adorning the building that they have purportedly abandoned.

Even odder was an article in today's New York Times, a candid interview with NYCO general manager George Steel, the mastermind behind the move. Mr. Steel, who is currently locked in a labor negotiation with AGMA and Local 802, the unions representing choristers and orchestra members respectively, has recast the once-proud opera company as a hit-and-run opera company, doing four or five operas in the spring.

The article revealed that Mr. Steel's offices are still in the basement of the once (and future) State Theater despite his repeated statements that the company is packing up what's left of its caravan and going on a campaign to bring opera to five two boroughs.

But for sheer strangeness, nothing will top part of the last two paragraphs, reproduced below:
“In my role as a producer, I spend a lot of time in the future,” Mr. Steel said, “and it makes me happy to live there. But an important part of my job is returning to the present and leading people forward, and in one sense people are living in the past."

"I manage for the future. If I have to take tomatoes from here to there, I can live with that."

Tomatoes, Mr. Steel? Really?

Another George, a Mr. George Costanza, once said that the tomato "never really caught on as a hand fruit."

At the rate things appear to be going, the "New New York City Opera" may not catch on either.

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