Dallas Opera's announcement yesterday that, after a yearlong search, it has decided to go with George Steel as its general director has them mighty disappointed in New York City, where, for the past 11 years, Steel has been executive director of the Miller Theater at Columbia University. During his tenure at Columbia, notes The New York Times, Steel "has turned [the Miller] into a vital and adventurous part of New York’s music scene." Which, writes The Times' Daniel Wakin, makes his decision to scoot to Dallas even more surprising:
He is also leaving a theater known for imaginative contemporary- and early-music programming on the vaguely bohemian Upper West Side of Manhattan for a Texas company whose approaching season is a study in war horsemanship: La Bohème, Die Fledermaus, The Marriage of Figaro, The Italian Girl in Algiers and Roberto Devereux.
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Then again, a man heralded two years ago for leaping into ballet and interviewed for BOMB in 2005 by photographer William Wegman, will have a budget four times larger than the one in NYC (DO's is around $12 million), and he takes over right before Dallas Opera moves into the Winspear Opera House in some 13 months. And the Dallas Opera does land a general director with swell nickname, courtesy Time Out in 2004: "The Impresario of the Improbable." That's priceless. --Robert Wilonsky