Opera cuts costs Company moves headquarters to Read Street


September 15, 1990|By Scott Duncan | Scott Duncan,Evening Sun Staff

The Baltimore Opera Co. is leaving its offices on Charles Street to move to the Medical Arts Building at 101 W. Read St.

Baltimore Opera general director Michael Harrison said the move, which is scheduled for next week, is designed to save the company money. The opera's Charles Street location is considered prime retail space, which is expensive, and Harrison said the move will allow the opera to cut costs and rent only the amount of space it really needs.

Currently at 527 N. Charles St., the opera rents two floors in a building that was once the Empire Salon and Second Story Books. A good portion of the space is taken up with a small rehearsal hall, which Harrison says is only used before productions and is only big enough to handle singing rehearsals and one-on-one scenes.

Lately, the company has preferred to rent rehearsal space at Zion Lutheran Church near City Hall. "It makes much more sense for us to rent rehearsal space when we need it, and not pay for it all year long," Harrison says. The company will save about $30,000 a year, he adds.

The telephone numbers at Baltimore Opera will not be affected by the move, except that phones will be temporarily out of service on Wednesday. The numbers will remain 727-0592 for the administrative offices and 685-0692 for the box office.

The opera will occupy a number of offices on the sixth floor of the Medical Arts Building. A box-office window will be maintained in the lobby, with a 10-minute parking zone outside to prevent those who want to buy opera ticket from getting parking tickets too.

Did you read about the violinist who submitted an apparently fraudulent tape for the International Violin Competition in Indianapolis?

Blumita Singer, of Sao Paolo, Brazil, submitted a tape and was accepted to the $20,000 competition.

But when she played in the first round, she was so bad the audience reportedly began giggling.

When the judges went back to listen to her tape, they concluded the violinist playing was either Yehudi Menuhin or Fritz Kreisler. Singer was disqualified.

If it was Kreisler, he probably enjoyed a good laugh up in virtuoso heaven. Kreisler perpetuated one of the most delicious hoaxes in music history.

For years, he would end his recitals with short encores he attributed to 18th century composers such as Pugnani or Francoeur, while critics waxed eloquent on the neglected charms of the pre-classical era.

Years later, of course, Kreisler admitted they were written by no one but himself.

The critics were not amused.

The Mayor's Advisory Committee on Art and Culture (MACAC) is looking for chamber music ensembles to audition for the third annual Baltimore Chamber Music Awards.

Up to three winning ensembles will receive $2,000 and a concert at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Judges this year are Leon Fleisher, violist Miles Hoffman, and William Purvis, a horn player for the Orpheus chamber orchestra.

To apply, call MACAC at 396-4575.

Martina Arroyo, known for her leading Verdi roles at the Metropolitan Opera until 1978, is coming to the Peabody Conservatory to present a master class on Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Arroyo still enjoys an active career, and appears on opera recordings on the EMI/Angel, London, RCA, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon and CBS labels. Tickets to the class, held in Friedberg Hall, are $5. The public is welcome. Call 659-8124.

Christoph von Dohnanyi's contract as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra has been extended five years. Dohnanyi's contract was to expire after this season. He became music director designate in 1982 and took over officially in 1984.

*Scott Duncan's music reeviews, stories and commentary appear regularly in the Accent section of The Evening Sun.

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