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January 30, 2009

Add Connecticut Opera to recession victims

The news just gets bleaker out there. In our area, we've seen the Baltimore Opera file for Chapter 11 and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra suspend its season. Similar situations are being faced by many arts organizations around the country. Last night, in Hartford, the board of the Connecticut Opera decided to cancel the remaining productions of the season, La boheme and Daughter of the Regiment. When two such popular works are not enough to gurantee ticket sales and patron support, you know things are terribly wrong. Here's some of the statement released by the board:

"Next month will mark the 67th Anniversary of the first performance by Connecticut Opera. Unfortunately, its passing will not be met with great celebration as we must regrettably inform you that Connecticut Opera is the latest victim of the current economic crisis facing our nation ... The decision to cancel the rest of the season is not one that was easily made.

The reality of our situation is that ticket sales for Connecticut Opera in a normal season cover less than 40 percent of the cost of producing the high-quality opera you have grown to expect from us over the past 67 years. This year, however, we are facing enormous economic challenges including a slow down in ticket sales and increased difficulty in raising charitable gifts and sponsorships. This combination has made it financially impossible for us to complete the season ..."

Posted by Tim Smith at 1:26 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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