Anytime there is a change from tradition in a performing organization's schedule, in this case a change of venue from the Ohio Theater to the Southern, there tends to be a drag on audience development until patrons become accustomed to the change. And while I have no doubt that the new venue will enhance the variety and quality of musical events in Columbus, the promising Southern series may struggle the first few concerts.
The new Opera Project's first event, a concert version of Giacomo Puccini's SUOR ANGELICA led by Alessandro Siciliani, takes place at the Columbus Pontifical College Jospephinium Chapel, I looked up their schedule, and found only a single event there in December, when Pro Musica (another organization which may conflict with the Symphony) plays a seasonal concert on Dec 11th. That's it.
Why would Opera Project, which presumably wants to support the beleaguered musicians of the Symphony (at least I hope they do, with Alessandro Sciliani at the helm), schedule a direct conflict with an critical new series by the Columbus Symphony?
To be clear the Symphony event at the Southern is a strings only concert. So while the strings will not be available to play for both the Symphony and the Opera Project, the winds and brass could. Also, the Symphony schedule is quite full during that time, making it difficult to schedule any weekend activity which does not conflict with it. However, there are 3 or 4 weekends from October to December which do not conflict.
So, did Project Opera consider the potential damage it could cause to the very local musicians its mission statement indicates it wishes to employ? Did they confer with the Symphony to try to eliminate the conflict?
As I continue to advise, performing arts organizations must cooperate and coordinate with each other, if not in consolidation of "backroom" management costs as the Columbus Symphony has done, then in schedules, so that struggling musicians do not fall through the cracks with audience dollars and schedules spread too thin to back any one group substantially.