Innovative director quits NY City Opera
Gerard Mortier, currently director of the Opera National de Paris, will not work for City Opera’s limited budget.
10 November 2008
NEW YORK - Innovative Belgian director Gerard Mortier is quitting his new job at the New York City Opera after the US economic downturn hurt his plans, the opera said Saturday.
Mortier, currently director of the Opera National de Paris, was to serve as general manager and artistic director in 2009-2010 at City Opera, with permission to bring advancement to the Opera.
But the worsening financial crisis affecting New York limited the opera’s funding.
"As we assess the climate for fundraising throughout the city during this period of economic stress, we have been forced to conclude that the necessary resources are not forthcoming to achieve our goals," said Susan Baker, City Opera's chairwoman, in a statement.
Mortier said that despite efforts to revise the budget, "it is unfortunately not possible to proceed with our exciting plans given the significantly reduced funds available."
The New York Times on Saturday quoted Mortier as saying he was promised USD 60 million (EUR 46 million) for the budget, but only USD 36 million were approved, leaving nothing for his proposed innovative developments.
"I told them with the best will, I can't do that," Mortier said. "I cannot go to run a company that has less than the smallest company in France."
Previous City Opera budgets were around USD 42 million, according to the Times.
Mortier is known for his risk-taking approach to scene work and interest in 20th-century opera. He planned to replace City Opera's classical works with modern pieces and to make major renovations to its New York State Theater.
His hiring by City Opera was announced in February 2007.
[AFP / Expatica]