On March 15, 2017 Seattle Opera announced it would be closing its Scenic Shop and dismissed 6 of its Senior Production Staff including Robert Schaub (Technical and Facilities Director) ,Vincent Feraudo (Director of Production), Kitty Kavanaugh (Master Scenic Artist), Michael Moore (Scenic Studios Manager) and Linda Kenworthy (Properties Coordinator),. This was all with no warning. These measures were to "Streamline Operations" and "stabilize its fiscal health".
The staff members who have been dismissed comprise some of the top figures in opera production in the US and have shepherded the Seattle Opera through both good times and bad. They have been instrumental in building both a national and international reputation for the company in terms of design and production. Robert Schaub and Vinnie Feraudo in particular have trained and mentored some of the finest technicians and stage managers working in opera today. Their depth of knowledge is profound and their insights have helped many a struggling production achieve success not only at the Seattle Opera but throughout the opera community at large.
Under the guidance of Michael Moore, the Seattle Opera Scenic Shop has produced hundreds of productions, many of which have been seen throughout the United States and internationally. Its staff is renowned as highly skilled artisans who have been loyal to the company through every possible economic time. Whether for the grandest opera houses or the smallest local theater companies, their work exemplified dedication, precision and artistry.
Arts organizations and their production departments take years to build up. Putting together a team of artists, technicians, and directors in a operatic production department is as difficult--if not even more-- than in the most complicated industrial production environments. With their long histories and experience tailoring productions precisely for the needs of the Seattle Opera, these Senior Staff members and the Scenic Shop have time and again been key to the success and long term health of the Seattle Opera.
We the undersigned strongly urge the Seattle Opera Board to reconsider the decision to dismiss the Senior Production Staff as well as close the Seattle Opera Scenic Shop. We hope you will choose the long term artistic health of the company over a short-term goal of immediate liquidity.
To The Seattle Opera Board of Directors,
We strongly ask you to reconsider the decision to dismiss the Senior Production Staff as well as close the Seattle Opera Scenic Shop. We hope you will choose the long term artistic health of the company over a short-term goal of immediate liquidity.