Posted: Sat., Nov. 8, 2008, 1:04pm PT

'Brokeback,' Disney operas scrapped

City Opera projects shelved after a.d. resigns


By Gordon Cox
Variety

Developing operas based on "Brokeback Mountain" and the life of Walt Disney are suddenly homeless with the departure from City Opera of a.d. and general manager, Gerald Mortier.

Mortier was appointed to the dual posts in early 2007 and his first season of programming was skedded for the 2009-10 season. That slate, ambitiously designed to shake things up for the company, has been scrapped.

Mortier, formerly the director of the Salzburg Festival in Austria, ankled after several months of speculation about his imminent departure. He reportedly quit over budgetary constraints that would not allow him to achieve his programming goals.

City Opera, one of the arts orgs at Lincoln Center on Gotham's Upper West Side, has been grappling with fiscal troubles in recent weeks, announcing a series of staff layoffs and furloughs.

Renovation of City Opera's New York State Theater, begun under Mortier's stewardship, will continue.

In his role at City Opera, Mortier had commissioned the "Brokeback" adaptation from Charles Wuorinen and the Disney opera from Philip Glass. He has said he will seek out other orgs to take on the commissions.
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