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Funding “Opera for the 80s and Beyond”: The Role of Impresarios in Creating a New American Repertoire

Funding “Opera for the 80s and Beyond”: The Role of Impresarios in Creating a New American... SASHA meTCAlF on a hot June day during the 1982 miami New World Arts Festival, two arts executives met for lunch to discuss the fate of American opera. "Why doesn't rockefeller fund opera?" asked martin kagan, executive director of operA America, a service organization for opera professionals. Howard klein, who was the arts director for the rockefeller Foundation, answered, "because opera has turned its back on the composer. . . . most American opera companies are about stars performing a limited repertory of established works, not in [sic] contributing to the development of a living art form."1 kagan's question was rhetorical; he agreed with klein that opera, as manifest in the major opera houses of the united States, was a moribund tradition. They expressed concern over the scarcity of new American operas and the stagnation of the standard european repertoire. but kagan and klein had a solution, one they thought would be palatable to the rockefeller Foundation: to revitalize modern opera, someone would need to tap into the world of avant-garde music theater, a domain to that point most successfully exploited by the collaborative efforts of philip glass and robert Wilson in Einstein on the Beach (1976). The http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Funding “Opera for the 80s and Beyond”: The Role of Impresarios in Creating a New American Repertoire

American Music , Volume 35 (1) – Jun 17, 2017

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Illinois Press
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1945-2349
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Abstract

SASHA meTCAlF on a hot June day during the 1982 miami New World Arts Festival, two arts executives met for lunch to discuss the fate of American opera. "Why doesn't rockefeller fund opera?" asked martin kagan, executive director of operA America, a service organization for opera professionals. Howard klein, who was the arts director for the rockefeller Foundation, answered, "because opera has turned its back on the composer. . . . most American opera companies are about stars performing a limited repertory of established works, not in [sic] contributing to the development of a living art form."1 kagan's question was rhetorical; he agreed with klein that opera, as manifest in the major opera houses of the united States, was a moribund tradition. They expressed concern over the scarcity of new American operas and the stagnation of the standard european repertoire. but kagan and klein had a solution, one they thought would be palatable to the rockefeller Foundation: to revitalize modern opera, someone would need to tap into the world of avant-garde music theater, a domain to that point most successfully exploited by the collaborative efforts of philip glass and robert Wilson in Einstein on the Beach (1976). The

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Jun 17, 2017

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