Opera News Announces Its "25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera"
By Matthew Westphal
Oh, those lists ... We love them, we love to hate them, we love to pass them around and argue with them ...
Opera News magazine has a new one, ripe for discussion, in its August 2006 issue — "The 25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera" — two dozen plus one influential individuals (well, mostly individuals) divided into categories: The Executives, The Image-Makers, The Maestros, The Media and so on.
So, who are these people?
You have the expected, of course: the chiefs of the four biggest opera companies (and eight of largest 10), high-powered agents from IMG and CAMI, the two maestros named James (Levine and Conlon), "The Diva" (Renée), and, naturally, The New York Times (collectively).
But there are a few surprises, too. Plácido Domingo makes the list (twice) as an executive, not as a tenor. Up on the conductor's podium with the Jameses is Stephen Lord, music director of the small but innovative companies in Boston and St. Louis. Deborah Voigt isn't there as a diva — she's an Image-Maker, her kerfuffle with Covent Garden and subsequent weight loss having received reams of mainstream media coverage, most of it favorable, all over the world.
Perhaps most surprisingly in 2006, a prime-time, major-network television show features in a discussion of opera at all.
And there's an honest-to-goodness ghost on the list.
Naturally, a lot of the discussion Opera News's "Power 25" list generates will be complaints about who's not there. (A favorite sport of opera fans, that.) Why Renée alone of all divas? Where's [insert name of your favorite critic]? Why only three Geniuses? And why those three?
The August issue of Opera News, featuring "The 25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera," goes on sale Monday, July 17.
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The 25 Most Powerful Names In U.S. Opera
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