Friday, October 22, 2010

Morning Midway: Paul Binder on Guillaume Dufresnoy to The New York Times

Interesting story in the Times, yesterday, "No Net For the New Man in Charge," by Felicia R. Lee.

Some things I did not know:

First of all, very sad to report that Bary Lubin has been battling cancer. I wish him excellent prospects for a full recovery and many more productive seasons as Grandma.

Show's budget was reduced two years ago by $5 million, down to $17 million from $22 million.

This season, the tour will be 2 months shorter, down to 8 months, to "focus on the Northeast corridor."

And here's retired Paul Binder expressing how he views the course that his replacement artistic director, Guillaume Dufresnoy, should take: "Guillaume wants to put his own stamp on it, but he's also aware that continuity is important."

Is that the previous Big Boss stressing what he expects to happen? I looked up the word "continuity," for an exacting refresher:

"...without essential change."

I'm not surprised. I've seen Dufresonoy's appointment as engineered to preserve what Binder has established, but the question remains, is this really what the show needs? And can Dufresnoy be satisfied mimicking what came before?

Next year's opus, he told the Times, will be handled "a team that has done mostly opera." That does not sound imitative to me.

Earlier comments in the wake of Binder's retirement by executive directory Gary Dunning alluded to bold new directions being envisioned, including tours extending far beyond usual BAC territory. Perhaps humbled by economic problems, they have shelved some lofty ideas for the moment.

At this point, likely they are hoping for the kind of continuity that will spell large turnouts, rebounding ticket sales revenue and corporate funding.

New edition, said to be "shorter and faster paced than last year's Bello is Back, because Mr. Defresnoy likes it that way," is now up and running at Lincoln Center.

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