Have a look at my little piece on the announcement of Washington National Opera's new season, published today at DCist:
Washington National Opera: Playing It Safe (DCist, January 12):
Opera, the extravagant art, tends to flourish in times of financial excess, meaning that the ongoing financial crisis has caused considerable collateral damage to this most expensive art form. In response to the crisis, Washington National Opera drastically cut down and altered the current season, including the regrettable postponement of its American Ring Cycle. While lamentable, the decision was fiscally wise, proven surely by the plight of Los Angeles Opera, which recently went ahead with its Ring cycle only to find itself begging the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to give it a $14 million loan to cover costs.[Continue reading at DCist]
While the WNO's decision made financial sense, it has made for a somewhat lackluster season (with a revival of Porgy and Bess and yet another Marriage of Figaro still to come), although it certainly had its high points and, quite ironically, the unexpectedly good conclusion to the Ring cycle. The bad news is that the cutbacks will be worse for the 2010-2011 season, but the good news is that the season will not consist only of overheard mediocrities.