City Opera Lays Off 11 Members of Its Staff

October 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

Including the Executive Director, Jane Gullong (although the spokesman claims these events are unrelated). Apparently newly appointed general manager Gerard Mortier doesn’t see the need for an ED – “The way Gerard Mortier works is, he never had an executive director in previous functions” – interesting. But Gullong served as Dev. Director for ten years at the Opera – is it a wise move to let her go with so much past fundraising success under her belt? I suppose with
a $15 million deficit also under her belt, that’s a hard case to make. Said deficit along with limited programming due to a Lincoln Center renovation project is apparently to blame for the other eleven layoffs, spread all over the organization.

Anyhow, Mortier is definitely spicing up the admin scene, especially that of “the people’s opera.” City Opera’s chairwoman said of him, “he is like the pretty girl at the dance who gets lots of offers to trip the light fantastic.” Not fully satisfied with the progress made by the organization on its fundraising goals or the lack of support he has received from the Board in the past, Mortier has accepted a few offers to trip that light with European opera companies who like his taste for contemporary works (despite being deemed “Eurotrash” by some whiny Salzburg patrons).

As for its role in the NY Cultural scene, maybe this will put City Opera on the map (the least we can hope for is some of Mortier’s neon-lit silver jumpsuits from recent Magic Flute endeavors). If you’re wondering where it’s been all this time, don’t ask me…considering the Met has Renee Fleming’s face plastered all over New York’s public transit system and Gossip Girls posing on it’s Opening Night red carpet, CO has a tough hill to climb.


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