The Philadelphia Orchestra has just purchased land for a new concert hall, to open in March 1993. The site is on the corner of Broad and Spruce streets in downtown Philadelphia, where a 2,800-seat hall and a 500-car garage are planned. Groundbreaking will begin in April 1990. The Orchestra Association also plans to renovate the historic Academy of Music, its longtime home. Total cost for the projects is $115 million.
- MEMBERS OF THE DONETSK BALLET of the Soviet Ukraine were stranded in Baltimore when backers of their American tour withdrew their sponsorship because headline stars from the Kirov Ballet were not allowed to leave Soviet Union. Benefactors came through with money to house and feed the dancers.- BUDGET CUTS IN SWEDEN threaten the future of the country's Royal Dramatic Theater (Dramaten) and Royal Opera, as Swedes now know them. "We are facing deep artistic wounds. The consequences are impossible to fathom," said Ingmar Bergman, his country's best-known film director, who has retired from the screen to direct plays for the Royal Theater.
Dramaten, which last year celebrated its 200th anniversary, said the proposed 10 percent cut in its $16 million state allocation would force it to close three of its six stages, decline invitations to tour abroad and fire 70 workers.
The opera house said its shortfall of $6 million would lead to the dismissal of 125 performers and technicians, and fewer and smaller productions.
Both the Royal Theater and Royal Opera were founded by Sweden's "theater king," Gustav III. Attending a masked opera ball in 1792, he was assassinated by a disaffected nobleman. The event was later immortalized in Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Un Ballo in Maschera" ("The Masked Ball") - a staple of the Stockholm opera's repertoire.
Neither company is planning to seek business sponsorship at this point, and indeed there is hostility to such a course in government circles, who fear that artistic principles might be compromised. However, some cultural organizations have already taken the pragmatic course of commercial sponsorship. The Gothenburg Symphony will accept help from Volvo to expand, tour, employ foreign conductors, and record with Deutsche Grammophon. And the Stockholm Symphony just made a $2 million sponsorship deal with the insurance firm Trygg-Hansa.
- EXILED RUSSIAN ARTISTS have been returning to perform in their native land, thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev and perestroika. Among them are Yuri Lyubimov, who has directed a play at the Taganka Theater, from which he was barred five years ago. Ballerina Natalia Makarova recently stepped onto the stage of the Kirov Theater for the first time since she fled Russia in 1970; and there is talk of restoring Soviet citizenship to cellist-conductor Mstislav Rostropovich. He and his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, were stripped of their citizenship in 1978, four years after leaving the Soviet Union in search of "artistic liberty."
In a further glasnost venture, the Kirov will perform works by George Balanchine for the first time on Feb. 18, when they dance his "Theme and Variations" and "Scotch Symphony" in Leningrad. Trained as a child in the Maryinsky Theater, forerunner of the Kirov, Balanchine left Russia after the Revolution and came to America to work in 1934.
- Compiled by Dorothy Stowe.