Concert Artists of Baltimore postpones Verdi Requiem
The economy has claimed another victim, but this one only for the short term. The performance of Verdi's towering Requiem that was to have been the season finale for the Concert Artists of Baltimore on April 18 has been postponed until next season (date to be determined). Although the concert was underwritten by sponsors, "our concern was whether we could fill seats," board president Barry Williams says. "Hopefully, the economy will be much better next season."
Concert Artists, an organization with a professional chamber orchestra and chorus, performs most of its programs at the 600-seat Gordon Center in Owings Mills. The Requiem, which can usually be counted on to spark box office traffic, was slated for the 2,500-seat Lyric Opera House, home of the now-in-bankruptcy Baltimore Opera. Over the years, Concert Artists has presented events at the likewise full-sized Meyerhoff Symphony Hall down the street from the Lyric, with string public response. "We at least tripled and sometimes quadrupled attendance whenever we came downtown," says artistic director and conductor Edward Polochick. "And two months out we would have sold more than 700 tickets for a Meyerhoff concert. For the Requiem, we're below 100 in single ticket sales two months out." (Concert Artists subscribers already have their tickets.) Adds Polochick: "We would be wasting the performance."
Like other arts groups, Concert Artists has been doing the belt-tightening thing this season since the economic downturn. Last month's Gordon Center program, for example, was changed to eliminate the planned choral numbers, saving more than $13,000 in personnel costs and music rentals.
Like many arts groups, this one doesn't have endowment funds to help get through lean times. But, while the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra had to suspend operations, Concert Artists has held on. "We are projecting another balanced budget," Williams says. A Mendelssohn program next month, with orchestra and chorus, at the Gordon Center will proceed as scheduled.