lincoln center festival to end

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lincoln center festival to end

Post by lennygoran » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:39 pm

John F
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Re: lincoln center festival to end

Post by John F » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:57 am

Back in 1994, when Beverly Sills was Lincoln Center's chair and conceived of a Lincoln Center summer festival, and tapped John Rockwell of the New York Times's classical music staff to create it, the Festival was artistically and culturally important. During Rockwell's five seasons before returning to the Times, he presented the first complete performance for centuries of "The Peony Pavilion," the complete stage plays of Samuel Beckett with Dublin's Gate Theatre, the Kirov/Maryinski Orchestra and Valery Gergiev in little known music of the Stalin era (including Prokofiev's "A Toast to Stalin"), The UK's Royal Opera in Pfitzner's "Palestrina" along with the Royal Ballet in Britten's "Prince of the Pagodas," Houston Grand Opera in Thomson's "Four Saints in Three Acts" staged by Robert Wilson, and any number of other original ideas.

(John was a college classmate and, like me, did programs on the student-run radio station WHRB. As producer of "Sunday Night at the Opera" in the early '60s he broadcast a complete series of all of Verdi's operas in chronological order, probably for the first time in America, obtaining tapes from Radio Italiana for the many which had not yet been published on records.)

When Rockwell left, Lincoln Center chose the artistic director of Spoleto Festival USA, Nigel Redden, to produce the LC Festival as well. Perhaps predictably, but regrettably, the Festival became a kind of Spoleto Festival NYC, sometimes with the same events in the same summer. Back in the '90s, there were often as many as six events at the same time every day of the week; I was spoiled for choice. Under Redden, this has shrunk to one or sometimes zero, and whole summers have gone by without a single event I wanted to see.

When Redden finally retired after 20 years in charge, I hoped that Lincoln Center would find a new Festival director who could bring back at least some of the excitement and importance of its early years. But who would that be? John Rockwell had been completely untested as an impresario, yet Beverly Sills saw something in him, both as an idea man and as a manager, and made an inspired choice. She is long gone, Lincoln Center's current chair and president are impressively successful women but neither has any background in the performing arts, and Jane Moss is already on the Lincoln Center staff and has proved herself. So I can see the logic of giving her responsibility for all of Lincoln Center's summer programming, not just Mostly Mozart. It's the quick and easy choice, it's cheap, and she's earned it.

Jane Moss is from my home town, Lancaster PA and attended the college where my father taught for nearly 20 years, Franklin & Marshall, whose Green Room Theatre produced the likes of Roy Scheider, Treat Williams, and Franklin Shaffner. So naturally I like her. :) That apart, she has brought enough exciting and important events to Lincoln Center, especially during Mostly Mozart and the White Lights Festival she invented, that I expect her additional programming will at least improve on Nigel Redden's. That it won't be in a distinctive festival with Lincoln Center's name on it, is a lowering of LC's artistic ambition. Her choices won't be judged against Nigel Redden's or John Rockwell's but each in its own right. We shall see.
John Francis

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