Local Art News
Seattle Opera announced at its annual meeting Tuesday it expects that its 2013-14 season will have generated a surplus. Growth in donations and ticket sales contributed to the bright fiscal picture, administrators said. Any surplus will be put back into operating reserves. The operating budget for the year was close to $28 million. Attendance for the season was up slightly, at 95,000 -- most likely due to the every-four-years production of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, produced in summer 2013 and regarded as the best in the company's history.
In other opera news, Maryanne Tagney was elected the new board president (succeeding William Weyerhaeuser). The annual Artist of the Year awards were given to mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and conductor Asher Fisch. If you saw "Tales of Hoffmann" in May, you know Lindsey's honor is well-deserved; critic Melinda Bargreen wrote that she "nearly walked away with the show." Seattle's "green 'Ring' " was the first complete cycle Fisch conducted in North America, and the already-lauded composer drew "a lush, radiant sound from the orchestra," Bargreen wrote, and was greeted with stadium-worthy cheers at his appearances. He first directed at Seattle Opera in 2003 and is a regular guest.
Things are getting heated between Metropolitan Opera leader Peter Gelb and the various unions that work in the storied New York opera house. Nearly all of the unions' contracts expire July 31 but given recent developments, there seems to be little hope of amicable agreement. Gelb is asking for cuts to pay and benefits. The unions ask why they should take a hit when management's "sorry record of mismanagement, cost overruns and bloated executive pay" is to blame. Lots of finger-pointing ("The Ring" was a disaster! Wait, Gelb makes nearly $2 million a year? Donors can't keep us afloat!) on both sides, including questions about the Met's popular "Live in HD" broadcasts to movie theaters worldwide.
Which brings us to the point: opera fans attending an encore showing of the Met's "Enchanted Island" at 7 p.m. Wednesday (July 16) at both Pacific Place and Thornton Place will be greeted by members of International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, part of that union's "Save the Met" campaign.
“Regularly scheduled simulcasts to theaters outside Lincoln Center have made Met performances a local treasure in locales outside the Big Apple. People outside New York City who care about the opera need to step up and help us save the Met," said Joseph Hartnett, assistant director of stagecraft for IATSE.
Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson writes:
Charlotte Tiencken, the managing director of the popular Book-It Repertory Theatre since 2007, is resigning her post to join the arts management faculty at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.
According to Book-It publicist Patricia Britton, the teaching opportunity came up suddenly for Tiencken, who hails from Charleston. Though there was discussion about her taking an open-ended leave from the theater and returning at some point, said Britton, the Book-It board of directors and Tiencken agreed it would be a better transition for the company (which heads into its 25th season this fall) to seek a new manager.
Book-It is known for its agile adaptations of classic and modern literature, most recently Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay."
“If I thought for a minute that my leaving would hamper the company’s celebration of its quarter century mark, I couldn’t do it," said Tiencken in a written statement, " but Book-It is strong; we have an excellent staff, and inspired leadership on the board of directors. I have wanted to dive into the academic waters for some time, and the stars have aligned to make it possible for my husband and me to do that.”
In addition to her Book-It duties, Tiencken has served as president of the board of Theatre Puget Sound, on the board for Pat Graney Dance Company, and on granting panels for Washington State Arts Commission and 4Culture.
Book-It is now seeking an interim managing director for its nonprofit operation. After that person is in place, it will mount a broader search for a new manager. More information: www.book-it.org.
After 11 years in its Denny Triangle location, Woodside/Braseth Gallery will move to a new site in late September. Denny Triangle, of course, is a white-hot real estate market, and Woodside/Braseth is surrounded by high-rises on the rise. (The gallery’s home, a building owned by Cornish College of the Arts, recently sold for $16 million.) Gallery owner John Braseth wisecracks that he pointedly avoided looking at any low-rise structures for his new location, since they’re most vulnerable to demolition and redevelopment.
His new home, 1201 Western Ave., at the base of Harbor Steps, is a 12-story building. Near Pike Place Market and the waterfront, it has more of an old Seattle flavor, Braseth feels, than the “office park” look and atmosphere of Denny Triangle and South Lake Union these days.
“The Visionaries of the Pacific Northwest Revisited,” currently on show at Woodside/Braseth, runs through Aug. 20 and will be the last exhibit at 2101 Ninth Avenue address. Braseth hopes the Western Avenue location, which will reopen with a group show featuring all the artists represented by Woodside/Braseth, will be the gallery’s last home. He’s been in the business 37 years and hopes to wrap things up when he hits the half-century mark.
Headed east later this month? If you're passing through Goldendale in Klickitat County at the right time, you can waltz right in to the Maryhill Museum of Art for free. During the weekend of July 19-20, residents of King, Snohomish and Whatcom counties (among others) can show a driver's license and skip the usual $9 adult admission fee. Also on July 19 -- and also free -- the museum will host "A Midsummer Night's Dream," performed by the Portland Actors Ensemble. While inside the museum, you can browse sculpture by James Lee Hansen, a collection of cartoons from The New Yorker magazine (and lesser-known pieces of the artists' portfolios) and "Maryhill Favorites: The Female Form."
This blog post is a two-fer: It consists of things to see AND do. Yeah, it's hot, yeah, we know. ArtsPage HQ's motto is (one of our many mottoes) that it's never "too" anything to get out and look at great art.
From theater critic Misha Berson: Seattle Musical Theatre has appointed local director and producer Roy Arauz as its new artistic director. Arauz brings wide experience as a theater artist, manager and dancer-choreographer to the longstanding company, which mounts revivals of well-known musicals at its venue in Magnuson Park. Arauz has worked in various capacities for such local companies as ArtsWest, SecondStory Repertory, Redwood Theatre and Studio East, and has choreographed or directed such classic musicals as "Annie," "The Music Man" and "Fiddler on the Roof." Recently he has also staged plays for Arouet, a fringe drama group he founded and has led since 2009.