Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival Cancels 2005 Season

Classic Arts News   Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival Cancels 2005 Season
The Shaker Mountain Performing Arts Festival in western Massachusetts has announced that it will suspend operations for one year in order to reorganize its administration, but that it hopes to reopen in 2006, the Berkshire Eagle reports.

Artistic director Denes Striny told the Eagle that the festival, which typically mounts four or five operas each summer, had what he called a complete administrative breakdown after the 2004 season, despite a rise in ticket sales. The festival found itself with a deficit for the first time, posting a shortfall of $41,000 on a $475,000 budget.

Although he did not specify the nature of the breakdown, Striny told the paper, "The problem was that there was no administrative structure. All I could deal with was to get the artistic side up there as best I could. Administratively, things slipped through the cracks."

Striny has plans to meet with two people who have offered to take over the administrative duties. He would retain control of artistic decisions.

The festival productions, which take place at the Robert Boland Theater at Berkshire Community College, combine professional soloists and student singers and use musicians from the Albany Symphony Orchestra. In addition to its regular season, the festival mounts two productions for children and has a program for student singers.

In 2006, Striny hopes to return with a season that includes a full production of Wagner's Ring cycle. "Since [the decision to close down], a few people have come forward, and it's given me hope," Striny said. "If things work out, we would have an executive director and a general manager for 2006. We are also trying to organize some grant proposals and go into 2006 with a positive attitude."

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