City Opera projects shelved after a.d. resigns
Developing operas based on “Brokeback Mountain” and the life of Walt Disney are suddenly homeless with the departure from City Opera of a.d. and general manager Gerard Mortier.
Mortier was appointed to the dual posts in early 2007, and his first season of programming was skedded for the 2009-10 season. That slate, ambitiously designed to shake things up for the company, has been scrapped.
Mortier, formerly the director of the Salzburg Festival in Austria, ankled after several months of speculation about his imminent departure. He reportedly quit over budgetary constraints that would not allow him to achieve his programming goals.
City Opera, one of the arts orgs at Lincoln Center, has been grappling with fiscal troubles in recent weeks, announcing a series of staff layoffs and furloughs.
Renovation of City Opera’s New York State Theater, begun under Mortier’s stewardship, will continue.
In his role at City Opera, Mortier had commissioned the “Brokeback Mountain” adaptation from Charles Wuorinen and the Disney opera from Philip Glass. He has said he will seek out other orgs to take on the commissions.
Amid City Opera’s struggles, fellow Lincoln Center resident the Metropolitan Opera is thriving. Under the leadership of Peter Gelb, that org has undertaken ambitious efforts to raise its profile, including a series of HD cinema screenings of Met perfs.