Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NEA Opera Honors

The second-annual NEA Opera Honors were held Saturday in Washington, D.C. The honorees were: composer John Adams (Nixon in China, Doctor Atomic); mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne; Lotfi Mansouri, former general director of San Francisco Opera who introduced supertitles to opera; stage director Frank Corsaro, best known for his 50-year association with New York City Opera; and conductor Julius Rudel, former general director of City Opera. A video tribute was shown for each honoree, and you can check them out on the NEA’s website.

Anne Midgette at the Washington Post notes the while it’s nice to honor the work of established artists, the NEA may be better off helping to jumpstart the careers of new artists. She used John Adams as an example:

Adams, in his remarks, cited a $2,500 NEA grant he had gotten as a young composer that enabled him to write his first orchestral piece, which in turn led to his commission for “Harmonium,” the stunning choral work that put him on the map. It was a reminder that the NEA may do more by enabling artists’ work than by honoring that work after they’ve done it. Read more.

What do you think? As arts funding is cut and donations are harder to come by, how is the NEA best able to further its mission (which, by the way, is “supporting excellence in arts, both new and established”)?

1 comment:

Jonathan Caves said...

While it is good to see these great artists being recognized - none of them really needs "support". Given the meager resources of the NEA I think they should instead focus on artists and arts organizations who do need support and encouragement in these difficult times.