The virtual orchestra, the sticking point in the strike by Broadway musicians last season, is once again causing controversy, The New York Times reported today. Opera divas Marilyn Horne and Deborah Vogt have resigned from the board of the Opera Company of Brooklyn, over that troupe’s plan to stage a one-night-only production of The Magic Flute, using a virtual orchestra. The production is schedule to take place on Saturday, August 9.
The cash-strapped company is staging the opera at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. David Smith, chairman of the school’s entertainment technology department and a partner in the firm RealTime Music Solutions, maker of the virtual orchestra, is providing the company with the venue and technical assistance.
The Musicians Union has also responded with a letter-writing campaign protesting the production. Broadway musicians struck last winter when theatre producers threatened to replace them with the virtual orchestra. The threat turned out to be a bluff and most Broadway musicals were dark for several days until an agreement was reached. To read the full Times story, click here.