There is no doubt that sharing productions allows an opera company to show more new works than when every company builds each of its own productions. But is something lost in this endeavor? I think so.
When corporate executives become leaders of arts organizations, they must truly appreciate this difference in mission or they will come into severe conflict with their artists, staff and board members.
I have nothing against boards taking time to meet together in a remote location to discuss key issues and to allow for socializing. But I do not think that a retreat is the appropriate place to write a plan. Why?
I have heard from so many people that this is the time to "thin out the field" of arts organizations. We need to remember that while it might make for more competition, it also makes for more interesting arts environment.
Governments and other major institutional funders across the globe are cutting arts funding as other social needs take precedence. This situation leads to a discussion of the responsibility large donors bear when they wish to cut their grants substantially.