In our freshly dismal economy, no one in the Arts game is having any fun. This morning's Los Angeles Times fronted a story on the dire straits of the region's arts institutions. Among the most notable recent casualties and developments:
- Orange County's Opera Pacific has canceled the remainder of its 2008-2009 season, and after 22 seasons appears likely to disappear entirely. As Tim Mangan reported in the OC Register, the company has eliminated virtually its entire staff and has placed its headquarters, " " up for sale.
On the Register Arts Blog, Tim suggests San Diego Opera, 70 miles south, as an alternative for opera-starved Orange Countyites. I would counter with a reminder that Long Beach Opera is even closer and has a really interesting season coming up. (Assuming, of course, that LBO survives when Opera Pacific has not.)
- Down the block from my office, the Pasadena Symphony and Pasadena Pops have been canceling performances and terminating executives right and left, all the while searching for a few spare millions to salvage their season.
- Meanwhile, in Manhattan, the New York Times reports this afternoon that the much anticipated (or in some circles dreaded) arrival of Gerald Mortier from Paris to take command of the perpetually struggling New York City Opera has come a-cropper over NYCO's inability to deliver the funding Mortier had been promised. In proper Gallic style, Mortier was simultaneously gracious and insulting in announcing his decision to withdraw:
'I told them with the best will I can’t do that,' Mr. Mortier said. 'I cannot go to run a company that has less than the smallest company in France.' Mr. Mortier is in the final year of running the Paris National Opera, which has a budget closer to $300 million. 'You don’t need me for that,' he said.
- No Age of Artistic Anxiety would be complete without a dollop of inexplicable government action, and our outbound President is there to do his part. President Bush announced this week that he has appointed patriotic country singer Lee Greenwood to the National Arts Council: