Four performing companies plan to sign on at arts center
By Suzy Valentine
Representatives of all four companies that the Miami Performing Arts Center is courting for residency say they will formally sign up by the end of August.
The Concert Association of Florida, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony are also still finalizing programming for the 2006-07 opening season. The center is to be completed by Aug. 4, 2006.
The arts center anticipates formalizing agreements by Friday.
"We expect all four resident companies to sign by the end of July, as scheduled," said the center's communications manager, Luis Palomares. "None has signed the agreement for first-season dates but our CFO Richard Walker expects to have the contracts in his hands sometime next week."
But the resident companies expect to need more time.
"The lease won't be finalized until the end of August," said Craig Hall, the concert association's director of public relations and marketing. "I gather that an extension has been granted. We have agreed on some dates for 2006-07 as a demonstration of our commitment."
Among the concert association's first guests are the American Ballet Theatre to perform "Swan Lake" and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which has yet to devise a program. Mr. Hall didn't disclose dates.
Florida Grand Opera has yet to sign an agreement but has a detailed program in place.
"I'm not aware of us having executed the document," said Justin Moss, the opera's vice president of marketing and communications, "but we feel we have a concrete understanding of our relationship."
The company has published its opening program: "Aida," "Il Seraglio," "Manon Lescaut," "La Somnambula," "Samson et Dalila" and "Anna Karenina" - a new opera by David Carlson.
The company is to use the arts center along with its own Florida Grand Opera Anderson Opera Center. It hopes to synchronize completion of that site with the arts center's for August 2006.
A Miami City Ballet spokesman said that the company and the arts center are negotiating fine points of a contract that he expects to finish within weeks.
"It's in the pipeline," said Pete Upham, the ballet's marketing and communications director. "We have it and we're reviewing it. It is going back and forth in the usual way. We don't anticipate signing by Friday but I hope it isn't long thereafter."
In a letter dated Dec. 2, the ballet asked the arts center to set its rental rate at a level comparable to its fee at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts in Miami Beach - about $3,000 per performance. The arts center trust declined, citing a need to be fair to all residents and to ensure its own financial sustainability.
Under the proposed terms of the contract, each resident company is liable to pay the same rental rates. A performance in the ballet opera house is to cost $7,365. To hire it for rehearsal will cost $3,685. The symphony hall costs $6,625 per performance and $3,315 per rehearsal.
Though the rates are double those at the Jackie Gleason Theater, Mr. Upham said the company is excited about the move.
"We're ready to go and we're eager to perform in the arts center."
He said that programming for the first season soon will be announced.
"We're in the final stages. We've thrown some ideas out," Mr. Upham said. "A decision is close."
The New World Symphony, also planning a Frank Gehry-designed auditorium on Miami Beach, is ready to formalize its agreement with the arts center.
"We're on track for signing the contract at the end of this week," said Marc Fest, vice president of communications, "or sometime next week."