Counter Critic for the Directorship of The New York City Opera
“A Key-Change We Need”
[Update: WATCH VIDEO]
I hereby announce my candidacy to assume directorship of The New York City Opera.
In these uncertain times, artistic organizations need stalwart leadership that will provide vision, direction, and most importantly, thought that isn’t lodged in the dark recesses of somebody’s ass.
As the New York City Opera continues to flounder in the murky waters of economic recession and general disregard, without a willing captain at the helm, it is imperative that someone who actually gives a damn about the institution be put in charge of leading the behemoth to safe and prosperous waters. (Yay, maritime metaphors!)
C.C. is that captain.
As Director of the New York City Opera, I propose to institute the following 12-step course of action:
Like Obama, I will surround myself with a menagerie of “the best and the brightest” thinkers in the arts and culture. L. Ro., Andy Horowitz and Earl Dax (oh, and La Cieca) are def. on the short list. Maybe RoseLee, if she gets her act together. I’m open to suggestions, but the important thing is that more than just one ego will be involved in this process. Think of it as one ginormous mega-ego of ideas. [Updated here.]
2. Rout the Board
Boards are notoriously over-committed and under-concerned groups of people who constantly need to be coddled, have their asses kissed, and virtually begged to in order to fulfill the basic commitments they agreed to when they accepted their positions.
All Board members are subject to review, upon which time, if their behavior and past activities as a board member show sufficient benefit to the New York City Opera, then they will be allowed to stay, while also doubling their annual give-or-get commitment. (Yes!)
If a Board member’s performance has been sub-par, resistant, or complainy, they will be summarily dismissed without further adieu.
Institutions don’t need to cow kowtow to lazy, annoying, or creepy board members. There are NICE WEALTHY PEOPLE out there who would donate their money and efforts to worthwhile institutions. They only need to be found. So let’s find ’em!
3. Umm…get some productions going!
Without delay, bring up some old and trusty productions out of the basement. Some opera is better than no opera at this point. Let’s keep the musicians and stage hands employed. Hey, we might even get an audience!
4. Commission no less than four new operas a year
It’s bullshit that Mozart got to compose like a new opera every year practically, and our living composers are relegated to writing maybe ONE per lifetime. To make new opera a viable contender in contemporary culture, it needs to be newer, faster, smaller, and have a constant presence in the world.
Hey, I’ll write them all, if that’s what it takes. That’s how committed I am to making The New York City Opera a better place…
5. Institute a moratorium on Bel Canto operas [UPDATED]
Ugh. This genre is getting way out of control. And besides, The Met is running pretty strong in this demographic. Let’s pick an area that The Met is overlooking (see point 4.), and create supply for the new demand.
The New York City Opera has been pretty good about pushing Barber. I say keep this going, and add one other area, say more experimental works from the 20th century, or perhaps devise a series dedicated to overlooked masterworks from the ages. Although I hesitate to promote anything that looks too deeply into the past, an old obscure opera is still a new opera to many of us. So go for it!
6. Once we’re back up and running, axe any old and crusty, outdated, fugly productions that no one cares about
Get over the fifties, sixties, and the seventies. I don’t care if it was the golden age of American opera! NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW. I can’t say it enough. New productions. New operas. Newness. Freshness. Hotness.
7. Keep sophisticated musical theater work in the plan
The New York City Opera has done a pretty good job of giving attention to works by Sondheim and Bernstein that border on operetta. Again, drop any old production (they’ve already retired Hal Prince’s “Candide”, so we’re like, half-way there!), and invest in new, powerful realizations of these kinds of works. CAVEAT: There will be absolutely no casting of any singer who uses a “Broadway Blat” as their prime manner of vocal production. That sound makes me want to hammer stakes into my ears. Please don’t make me do that.
8. Keep Mark Morris
9. Hello, Marketing?
Take a cue from Gelb and get Pentagram or some other hot-shit design firm to re-brand The New York City Opera. It needs a face life, and from what I hear there are all sorts of new technologies that prevent you from looking like the skin on your face is simply being held in place by a bungie-chord attached from the back of your head to the top of the Chrysler Building. Make it new, make it fresh, make it hot sex.
10. Fuck the New York City Ballet
Umm, aren’t we all tired of this abusive relationship? Either we stand up for ourselves and get Peter Martins to back the fuck down, or we go find another place to bring our awesome opera. It’s that simple. We don’t need them!
Nor do we need to build a new theater. There are plenty of super-sweet theaters in NYC that we could set up our productions.
Or, here’s an idea…
11. Move to BAM!
BAM’s opera program is definitely wanting, and if they could outsource their need for opera to The New York City Opera, and work with, say, a likeminded young entrepreneur of opera who has a similar thirst for fresh, contemporary and relevant ideas, I mean, would that just be the awesomest thing ever! (JVM, I’ll be waiting for your call…)
12. Take as many risks as possible on un-famous artists
I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired after going to some production with big-name creators and artists and having it totally suck my balls. There is an overabundance of talent in this city. If I have a dime for every able and amazing singer I know who isn’t working, I could just buy the City Opera and not have to go through all this nonsense.
I also know of a gabazillion composers, choreographers, writers, lighting designers, filmmakers, dancers, actors, and generally creative types who could be tapped—and on the cheap—to really make New York City Opera’s productions something to marvel at.
Take the risk. Put these people to work. Utilize one of NYC’s most renewable natural resource: Talent.
Desperate times do not need desperate measures. They need thoughtful, fierce, daring and creative ideas that lead to swift, decisive, and fearless action.
As Director of The New York City Opera, I plan to commit the entirety of my passion and resources to bringing this company, rife with potential, out of fiscal and artistic blight, and into a new ear (or era) of prosperity and general awesomeness that New York City deserves from “The People’s Opera.”
As I really don’t have much else to do with myself before taking over, I’ll be pretty easy to reach. Or, you can always just leave a comment on the blog. It’s cool with me if we do this thing in public.
Can’t wait to start!