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Matthew Buckman
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For the better part of a century, American opera companies have served as the guardians of a tradition. But in our passion for protecting this tradition for the past century, we’ve largely neglected a very crucial responsibility, one that was not neglected in prior centuries: fostering the artists who represent the future of the art form. Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
I love what I do so much, I do it ALL THE TIME! Some say I’m a workaholic; more diplomatic friends are concerned with my work-life balance. But when your hobby happens to be your job, that balance can be difficult to achieve. Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2016 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
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For centuries now, opera has been telling the stories of the human experience. The good, the bad, the funny and the sad, all told through the music of some of the best composers the world has ever known. We’ve come together in theatres around the world to revel in works of art that explore the topics of our time, and we continue to experience those human stories every time we return to the opera house. We’ve got an opportunity to this again with the opera Dead Man Walking. Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2016 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
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When we announced the 2015/16 season at Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera last spring, we were very open about our two primary goals for the coming season. Our production of Sweeney Todd last month gave us the first opportunity to measure the results of our strategy, and the results were overwhelming! Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2016 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
Yesterday morning, I started receiving emails from contacts on LinkedIn (a platform I rarely use) congratulating me on my anniversary. Being right in the middle of the busiest part of our season, for a minute I couldn't figure out what was going on. Then I remembered that it's the beginning of February, and I just passed my eighth year at Townsend Opera in Modesto. That caught me completely off guard, not only because I forgot the beginning of February is when I started this journey, but also because I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S BEEN EIGHT YEARS! It has gone by in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2016 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
If you pay attention to the classic music world at all, you saw that the New York Philharmonic named their next music director, who will replace departing music director Alan Gilbert in 2017. It was an important decision for the NY Phil, as the new music director has to lead them through two years outside their concert hall, which is undergoing major renovation in a couple years. And many are concerned that the new music director won't continue the more progressive and adventurous programming of his predecessor, which has been quite successful. Anthony Tommasini, in his coverage of the announcement,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2016 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
In a previous blog post, I promised details on our mission to reestablish opera as a popular art form that has a place in 21st century American cultural. This is the first in a three-part series about our mission. Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
Townsend Opera and Fresno Grand Opera are on a mission. We’re on a mission to reestablish opera as a popular art form that has a place in 21st century American cultural. Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
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As you may have heard back in May or June, I was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of Opera America. Over Halloween weekend, I attended my first board meeting in Los Angeles, and I thought I would take a moment to tell you about it. Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
If you’ve followed the storyline of opera in Fresno and Modesto for the last 15 months, you likely know that Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera in Modesto began something called a “full creative and management partnership.” But what does that mean? And what does that look like? Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
I read some disappointing news last week, and it made me realize how dangerously close even the best arts organizations always are to closing down. Gotham Chamber Opera, a wonderful company in New York led until recently by David Bennett, the new General Director of San Diego Opera, is closing its doors. It remains unclear what exactly happened, but either way it demonstrates the peril in which arts organizations live in the 21st century. The new Executive Director discovered a previously undisclosed/unknown budget deficit, and it was more than they could handle. And they're gone. Which highlights a disturbing fact... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
I am very happy to announce that Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera in Modesto, CA were awarded a significant grant from The James Irvine Foundation to support our efforts in engaging a new audience for opera in our community. (Read the announcements here for both Fresno and Modesto). I thought it would be interesting to give a little insight into the process by which a significant grant like this is developed and received. Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
I am frequently asked what it’s like being the General Director of two opera companies in communities 90 minutes apart. So I thought I would give you a snapshot at my life last week. Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
Last week, Townsend Opera and Fresno Grand Opera announced exciting new partnerships with the poetry communities and the Departments of Music at the CSU campuses in each community. With these new partnerships, the opera companies of Fresno and Modesto are taking a leadership role in engaging young people in the creation of new art works, and in getting people in our communities participating in the art form. Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
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I read Charlise Tiee's review of San Francisco Opera's production of Sweeney Todd today, and there are a couple points in the review that are worth talking about. Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
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The past week was one of the most exciting, terrifying and exhilarating weeks of my professional life – all at the same time! We opened the 2015/16 season of both Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera last week – the first full joint season under my leadership and the first planned entirely by our artistic team. Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
It has been a really busy summer! We’ve accomplished a lot since our season ended back in May, but to really understand how much has been done, we need a good understanding of where we’ve been, and where we’re going. We’re in the beginning stages of an experiment in sustainability for opera in the Central Valley. Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
This is a great blog post by Kostis Protopapas, the Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera, about why he feels it's important for American opera companies to program American opera. This quote resonates deeply with me, as I struggle with the same thing: "...it’s becoming more and more difficult to explain why anyone should go to the opera, or donate to it." Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
Casting an opera is often times a fascinating and challenging endeavor, and the audition and casting cycle for the 2015/16 season at Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera in Modesto (which is still underway!) has lived up to that reputation. Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
Welcome to Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman. I decided to start this blog primarily for one reason: my friends and family have no idea what it is that I do, and for years new acquaintances, upon hearing what I do for a living, have stared at me as though I just miraculously grew a third eyeball in my forehead. Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2015 at Off the Cuff with Matthew Buckman
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Aug 31, 2015