Financially pressed Florida Grand Opera ditches its concert series after just one season
Florida Grand Opera is pulling the plug on its Superstar Concert Series, a project launched with much hype and lavish promotion this season, due to the company’s ongoing financial crisis.
“The Superstar Concert Series had a deficit of $268,000 on a budget of $740,000 for the three concerts,” stated FGO general director and CEO Robert Heuer, in an emailed answer to questions about the series’ status. “Both ticket sales and fund raising failed to achieve their goals. Given the current difficult economic times, the Opera cannot take the risk of additional deficits next year.” Heuer also indicated that the possibility of competition from the Arsht Center’s new classical series, to be announced shortly, was another factor.
Dropping the concert series—a project Heuer hailed from the Knight Concert Hall stage just weeks ago— means Judy Drucker’s brief tenure as artistic adviser to FGO will end next month.
Founder and former president of the Concert Association of Florida, Drucker was hired by FGO to organize the new series and booked a starry trio of singers. The series was a clear artistic success, with rousing performances this season by Dmitri Hvorostovsy, Marcello Giordani and Bryn Terfel, which added cachet and vocal luster to a company whose main-stage productions tend to rely on young, lesser known singers.
Next season’s Concert Series lineup would have provided comparable vocal firepower with Drucker planning to bring in Renee Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu and Sondra Radvanovsky.
With Florida Grand Opera cutting back to four productions next season, part of a thirty percent cut of overall expenses, Heuer said the company “cannot justify taking more risk on something outside of its core mission.” He stated that the FGO is projecting a deficit of $1.4 million this season, which includes the $268,000 loss from the Concert Series.
While declining to be interviewed, Drucker said she is committed to ensuring that the three concerts featuring Fleming, Gheorghiu and Radvanovsky go on as planned under different auspices.
Florida Grand Opera’s season-closing production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly opens at the Ziff Ballet Opera House tonight.
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Sat Apr 25, 2009
at 4:01 pm