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Subject: Re: STRIKE!!!
From: Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 13 Oct 2018 22:46:28 +0000
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Hi, Les, and greetings all!      I view your description of Lyric Opera of Chicago as having been "from a vocal and superstar standpoint, 'spotty,' " as really unfair.  Keep in mind that Lyric only performs eight production runs and one musical run each season, with occasional galas and recitals added.  The Met does many MANY more runs each season and many MANY more performances.  So it is natural that the Met attracts more superstar singers and holds them longer.  Thus Lyric "appears" to suffer by comparison.  Considering the difference in their respective outputs, Lyric gets fully its fair share of superstars.  Furthermore, many of the "less than superstar" singers at Lyric are graduates of the Ryan Center--often used as "house singers."  I will stack up Lyric's "house singers" against the Met's any day of any season.  Singer for singer, role for role, production for production, Lyric more than holds its own.  I well remember snide posts on this list, when Ryan School graduates have been cast as Antonia, Crespel, Mephistopheles, Colline, Shaunard, Suzuki, or David  trying to make us believe that Lyric only hired them because "Lyric gets them cheaper."  Do not let "dissing Lyric," long one of the favorite sports on this list, prejudice you against thinking about Lyric's high quality clearly.  Folks here love to take potshots at Lyric's "lack of vision."  Lyric performs what its public wants to hear, which is one reason for its financial security compared with many other world class houses.  Lyric is not about performing new and/or "adventurous" productions in order to please a few posters on Opera-L who personally prefer less-standard programming.  It does perform both "adventurous" and "new" works, but comfortably within its understood mission, cognizant of its bottom line, and respectful of its audience's preferences.  Bill Mason, unlike many other general directors of art institutions throughout the world, always remained protective of the financial integrity of his company.  Lyric, unlike many other American opera houses, never has coasted on the financial brink because it had so much "vision" that it spent money it did not have.  "Vision" has driven several American opera houses to near bankruptcy and beyond.  No opera house in the world has a "superstar" singing every night.  But with only VERY rare exception, Lyric does have "thorough competency" singing every night.  That's NOT "spotty."      Best,     Dennis Ryan 


-----Original Message-----
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sat, Oct 13, 2018 2:26 pm
Subject: Re: STRIKE!!!

David:
    LOC has been, from a vocal and superstar standpoint, "spotty", but not for as long as your post might infer.  Throughout the 1960's and 1970's, such singers as Nilsson, Sutherland, Horne, Kraus, Domingo, Gobbi, Berganza, Corelli, Baltsa, Vickers, Tomova-Sintow, Bumbry, Freni,  Cossotto, etc, were all included in a number of seasons.  
    When Bill Mason became manager, the superstar singers were never engaged.  Starting in the mid 1990's, Lyric Opera was rather short on super power stars.  We've had Radvanovsky in some of her star vehicles ----- Aida, Ballo, Norma, Anna Bolena, as well as Matthew Polenzani in a good number of performances.  But we DON'T get Florez, Kaufmann, Nebrebko, etc. at all.
    It seem hard to believe that this is a company launched by Callas, Simionato, Steber, Tebaldi, Bjoerling, Tucker, Nilsson, Borkh, Bastianini, Gobbi, Schwartzkopf, Moffo, etc. 
> On October 13, 2018 at 12:54 PM David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> Consider the upside -- Chicago will not be subjected to the Lyric's 'Siegfried'.
> 
> As to its reputation, on the vocal side at least, the company was
> extraordinary at the beginning in the 50's and has been spotty ever since.  
> 
> David Kubiak
> 
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