Adrian Lester as Ira Aldridge. Photo: Tristram Kenton.
Michael Henson, the CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra, is finally stepping aside. Norman Lebrecht says it best: "His handling of the conflict will be taught for years in college as a negative object lesson in arts management." ... With one long nightmare apparently coming to an end, another begins: in a decision that defies comprehension, the board of the San Diego Opera elected to shut down the company rather than address fund-raising challenges. It is a "senseless, premature death," as Mark Swed writes in the LA Times. James Chute, of the San Diego Union-Tribune, supplies some eyebrow-raising figures about the company's finances, notably the $4.6 million given to Ian Campbell, the artistic and general director, and his wife, Ann, from 2008 to 2012. Let's hope opera in San Diego can spring back under new leaders.... Great days for the arts pages at the Huffington Post: first we are told that Schoenberg's name is pronounced "SHOON-berg," then we're given the headline "Opera in America: Is It Circling the Toilet?" Jennifer Rivera's piece is worth reading, though.... NewMusicBox has a multi-voiced tribute to the late, great Robert Ashley.... Gergiev hails the annexation of Crimea; Dudamel seems entangled with the Maduro regime in Venezuela. Anne Midgette contemplates the intersection of music and power.... Dawn Fatale, chez Parterre, gives a cool, knowing appraisal of looming conflicts at the Met: "Peter Gelb promised to revitalize the Metropolitan Opera through an increased number of theatrically exciting new productions, better casting, and innovative media initiatives. He had the right ideas, but has been largely unable to execute on them." ... Lolita Chakrabarti's play Red Velvet, about the great African-American tragedian Ira Aldridge, opens at St. Ann's Warehouse next week. In my capacity as an amateur Aldridgean, I'll lead a discussion after the March 27th show.... Joseph Kerman, dean of American musicologists, died last Monday at the age of eighty-nine. His books and essays, restless in spirit and forceful in expression, will long endure.