Celebrating independence, things converge: the birthday of a good friend, and finding a present, of a classical DVD, that invokes memory of an independent spirit. Viennese born conductor, Erich Leinsdorf, became a naturalized American citizen in 1942. In the era of great and legendary conductors, Leinsdorf found his talents identified and utilized by musical dynamos, Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini, and debuting, in his own right as dynamo, at the Metropolitan Opera House, at the age of 26.
This WNO year ended with an incredible presentation program of the various projects our partnership schools had created. Over the course of two days, over 15 schools performed their works (3rd, 4th and 5th graders, and our first Kindergarten class), to the delight and engagement of their peers, parents, and supporters. The pieces were diverse, hugely imaginative, ambitious, and executed enthusiastically by the students who had created them! The proceedings were ‘hosted’ by Ben Eisler, ABC-7/WJLA-TV.
A little over a month ago, the Washington National Opera company announced its merger with the Kennedy Center. For the 2011 Fall season, and beyond, the company will be considered part of the family, and have permanent residence in the quadrant of spaces which includes housing for the National Symphony, presentation residency of the National Ballet, Millennium Stage, and adjacent theater spaces, used for Jazz, visual arts, and other touring production companies of plays and musicals. At the time of discussions, I would suspect that this all looked pretty reasonable on paper.
In 2004, in the Theater section of the June 20th edition of the New York Times, Jesse McKinley wrote an article entitled: THEATRE; Workshopped to Death. This article identified a growing theater practice of putting plays through protracted opportunities, such as table readings, and workshops; the reasons suggested were twofold, and interrelated: money & risk.