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Opera’s ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ Takes Its Biggest Stage Yet

Opera’s ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ Takes Its Biggest Stage Yet

The policy is built into the company’s contracts. Sometimes, it’s too expensive — most often at dance institutions, which tend to be chronically underfunded. So when it can, AMOC makes up the difference with subsidies. (That Mellon grant will help.) In the end, Winokur said, “everyone enters the room feeling the same way.”

Usually, Winokur said, partners are fine with AMOC’s pay standards. One reason could be that most institutions would be willing to support the company’s artists anyway. Many of them have been regulars at Lincoln Center; during the 2018-19 season, Bullock was in residence at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Costanzo was instrumental in bringing the New York Philharmonic back from its pandemic hiatus. “We have,” Tines said, “earned our stripes.”

That puts the company in a position not enjoyed by many avant-gardists, or young artists generally. They have freedom, and means.

“The way AMOC engages with institutions is, we are happy to utilize the resources of the hardware,” Tines said. “We need the spaces, we need the financial support. We do not need the artistic ideals or ideas even. Just allow people to be their full selves and artists to create, and hopefully you will allow an ecosystem for beautiful things to be made. The provider of resources cannot also be the arbiter of them.”

When AMOC is left to its own devices, it operates in a disciplined, democratic way. It has a “small but busy staff,” Winokur said, consisting of him, the managing director Jennifer Chen, the producer Cath Brittan and the company manager Mary McGowan. The company is also made up of committees, such as the one overseeing Ojai.

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Anthony Cheung, who composed one of the festival premieres, “The Echoing of Tenses,” said: “I’ve never seen an organization like this, where even in the planning stages people involved or not in the project are so invested.” Guzelimian laughed while recalling the sight of a shared Google Docs file for Ojai, where changes from all members were happening in real time. “Even editing documents,” he said, “is a collective effort.”


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