South Florida Classical Presenters Go Public With Anger at Broward Center Over Access to Dates

Classic Arts News   South Florida Classical Presenters Go Public With Anger at Broward Center Over Access to Dates
Officials at the Florida Grand Opera and Concert Association of Florida are openly expressing frustration with the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale over scheduling disputes — even going so far as to question in the press whether they will continue to use the venue.

"Right now I don't even have an '07-'08 season in that theater," CAF president Judy Drucker told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I haven't been able to get the dates."

The Broward Center presents touring Broadway shows as well as classical music, opera and dance. The Sun-Sentinel reports that both FGO and CAF have long grumbled about the Center's practice of reserving large blocks of time for such tours. The incident that seems to have triggered Drucker to complain publicly was the Broward Center's withdrawal of previously offered dates in March 2008 to accommodate a return engagement of the musical Wicked.

As the Broward Center is the only facility in Fort Lauderdale that is suited for opera, ballet and orchestral concerts, a departure by the CAF and FGO would presumably mean the withdrawal of those organizations from the city altogether.

Broward Center president Mark Nerenhausen defended the venue's scheduling policies to the Sun-Sentinel, claiming that his booking office rejects touring shows as frequently as classical presenters — and that he had offered the CAF a choice of 55 dates, one-quarter of the prime-season slots available.

"If Itzhak Perlman refuses to make himself available on the dates we have," he asked, "is it our fault or is it Itzhak Perlman's fault?"

The Florida Grand Opera presents a season of five or six operas from October to May at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium and the Broward Center. The Concert Association of Florida is the region's major presenter of touring orchestras, recitalists and ballet companies. Both organizations (along with Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony) will be resident companies — with priority booking of dates — of the new Miami Performing Arts Center set to open in October 2006.

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