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Back to Chicago Summer

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Back to work today: air conditioned office too cold, al fresco lunch at the pub too warm. So probably the best place would have been sun bathing in the park, any park -- in the case below, Lincoln Park, just down the road from our apartment. This one is a bit of a cheat, though -- my photo is two years old -- but all the same, the sun worshipers are out in force, the beaches are full and the city has a really nice summer holiday feel about it.

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We are spending time just now on trying to come to grips with the new behavior of audiences. They are not doing what they used to do and what we think they ought to do. They are now giving us the run-around. They are even deciding that they prefer to go on some other day than the Wednesday that has ruled their lives for so long. And so they are waiting until a much later stage before taking the plunge and committing as long as nine months in advance. I cannot complain -- I rather sympathize with them. But given that the whole model for American opera, and other performing arts, companies makes assumptions about a predictable pattern of behavior, this is making us think. And so we will be giving pretty weighty consideration over the coming months to whether we should be doing things somewhat differently.

What we do know is that on the whole they like what we do. The question is more about whether we are doing it at the right time in the right place. We are entering a serious reassessment period -- we need to ensure the future of this company. So we will be looking at everything we do, and how we do it, so that we can guarantee that COT is here in 2020. Not just here -- but also doing work as finely as it can possibly be done.

We have a brand new development director starting tomorrow. Taking over from Marla Krupman, who has left us for the Museum of Contemporary Art, will be Elena Reinert who joins us after a very successful stint at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We are greatly looking forward to working with Elena -- we know her well since she she was the co-chair of our Opera Underground group; she is a passionate music lover and a delightful energetic personality. She is here to raise money -- and she is good at it!

Tomorrow I have an early meeting with a Board member -- then to work!