Big arts execs
So far, I've not gotten much response from the salary spread of art execs in Sunday's paper. But the perceptive Don Fritz sent this e-mail:
What really intrigues me, Janelle, is what the "Big Story" leaves out. With those big budgets that run in the millions, all the top executives have big staffs. The Marketing and Development Department of the Opera is brilliantly handled by Chris Milligan and a big staff. And that is most certainly the case with the CSO and the other organizations.
But there is no mention in the stories of these people who have big staffs supporting their operations. It wasn't always magic at the Opera; they experienced a decline in the ticket sales and patron support in the last years of Muni and heard a lot of complaints. ... And with the Cincinnati Ballet, I've never seen a piece that Victoria Morgan choreographed that wasn't over the top and just silly for being campy and cute. Try as they do at the Playhouse, when has there really been a production there that would raise the hair on the back of one's head. And while Paavo may be educating us, the attendance has not been going up over at Music Hall as far as I've noticed.
In fact, ironically under conductor Jesus Lobos Cobos the orchestra did a Bruckner this past year that was thrilling. They had about 750 on Friday night and maybe 1,000 on Saturday. I'll be fascinated to see what Evans is able to do to bring the audience back to the Opera. He is one smooth cookie, and I think damned good. But when they finally do one of my favorites, Meistersinger, I'll be intrigued with the production and performance and the size of the audience for what may be comic opera, but is one long evening of singing. This old German town isn't still munching on brats and drinking beer these days.
SO the real interest for me that I think you should devote at least one page to in the Enquirer is a comparison between the big 8 and the smaller organizations: the Ensemble Theatre, the Shakepeare Company, the Vocal Arts Ensemble, the Chamber Music Cincinnati, the Linton Series, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, The Xavier Piano Series [perhaps one of the real gems of the city and one of the few of its kind in the country] -- their Executive Directors and their struggle with small budgets and meager staffs, if they even have much of a staff. ...
Why not do a interesting study of contrasts amd see what happens when some lesser known figure waves the baton over a Cinderella and comes up with a beautiful Princess, on what the community gets "on the cheap" from groups well deserving of attention because they are good.
So let's have a deeper look below the glitter of salaries of the groups that the Fine Arts Fund heaps money on each year, Janelle.