THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

GREGORY'S CODA

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs. Photo by Robert Hart.
Music and Opera reporting on TheaterJones.com is made possible by The University of North Texas College of Music.
Select the link below to discover more.

Critic’s Critics Win

Blog: What does the case of Don Rosenberg mean for other arts reviewers?



published Sunday, August 15, 2010

If you have not been following the recent news of Don Rosenberg, here's a brief overview: He was the classical music critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and didn’t much care for the work of Cleveland Orchestra conductor Franz Welser-Möst. So his reviews turned (reportedly) mostly negative after the new Maestro took the podium.

Rosenberg was removed as a reviewer for the orchestra, which is one of the country's major orchestras, and was offered other groups to review—which he rightfully considered a demotion. He sued both the Cleveland Orchestra, who he felt pressured the newspaper to get rid of him, and his newspaper for caving in to that pressure.

He lost the case last week. Here is how the local media covered it in Ohio.

This whole affair is reminiscent of Claudia "Acidy" Cassidy, a caustic music, dance and drama reviewer at the Chicago Tribune (among other publications). In 1953, she ran Rafael Kubelik, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony, out of town. It caused quite a stir at the time. Still, Cassidy retained her job while Kubelik didn’t. Nobody sued anybody.

Fuming at bad reviews is part of the life of a performer. Nicolas Slonimsky’s laugh-riot of a book, Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven's Time, is a highly entertaining romp through the misjudgments of music critics.

Many artists have, at one time or another, received evil rants from dyspeptic critics with a personal ax to grind. The composer Gian Carlo Menotti famously quipped that critics had frequently ruined his breakfast, but never his lunch.

The Rosenberg situation, however, was not an occasional bad review or a grumpy personality. He had reviewed the symphony for decades and even wrote a book about its history. Apparently, he just did not like much of what Franz Welser-Möst did on the podium. Period.

This affair raises a quandary for critics. What do you do when a new conductor takes over who you think makes a mess of everything? As Rosenberg’s attorney, Steven Sindell, said to WCPN News in the above referenced story: "We believe, irrespective of what the jury may have thought, that Don Rosenberg’s ability to give honest and thoughtful reviews based on years of experience, was compromised because his views weren’t popular with some quarters."

For more discussion of the Rosenberg affair and what it means for critics, read this terrific essay by Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette.

Meanwhile, those of us critics whose views don't always fall in line with popular opinion will keep doing what we're doing. Who else will say it? Thanks For Reading





Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Critic’s Critics Win
Blog: What does the case of Don Rosenberg mean for other arts reviewers?
by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit