He denied and denied that he was taking the top spot at the New York City Opera, going so far as to tell Bloomberg News right before Christmas, "I'm not interested in the job at New York City Opera." Well, so much for that. Because not five months after he was tapped to head Dallas Opera, soon to move into its posh digs in the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, George Steel is so outta here. So says The New York Times moments ago:
The tottering New York City Opera said on Wednesday that it had found a savior after two years of financial and leadership turmoil, appointing the impresario and conductor George R. Steel as its general manager and artistic director.
Says Steel in the official press release:
"It is an enormous honor, and an enormous responsibility, to be asked to participate in building the future of New York City Opera," George Steel stated. "My goal is to help 'the People's Opera' renew its indispensable mission as an important producer of early opera, a proponent of American singers and new works, a force for rediscovering vital but lesser-known works, and an originator of visionary productions of classic repertoire."
And, look, he even made a video talking about how awesome, awesome, awesome the New York City Opera gig's gonna be. It's after the jump. Whatever, dude.
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Update: This from Bloomberg News' account of today's announcement -- which, incidentally, bears the headline "George Steel Spurns Dallas to Run Ailing New York City Opera":
"Even if you leave the ethical issues aside, 'shocking' and 'disappointing' are words inadequate to describe the turn of events," said Patrick Kelly, a prominent Dallas stage manager and cultural journalist who heads the theater department at the University of Dallas. "How rare can reliable leadership be among artistic institutions if two established opera companies have to go after one young man to serve as their head honcho?"
Also worth repeating from that story: "It is unclear who will now lead [Dallas Opera] or if it will sue Steel for breach of contract."