News rushed out in the Intertubes yesterday that Mario Venzago would not be returning to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra this season. I received a notice through Facebook (I'm officially a fan of the ISO), and then read a little more about it from local blogger Chantal. But then today's newspaper had a very different take, and unfortunately somewhat tabloidy. The source for the information is someone, Cassie Goldstein, who had been laid off in February, someone who did not have president Simon Crookall on her favorite person list. And her statement that only one offer had been made to Venzago seems highly unlikely and is directly contradicted by Simon. Ms. Goldstein just seems to read like a hanger-on from celebrity scandals who try to make it sound like she knows more than she really does. I could be wrong, she might have been directly involved in the negotiations. However, I know Simon (he's the senior warden at my church), and while I'm not surprised that there could be a personality conflict between him and Maestro Venzago, I would be totally surprised that Simon would negotiate in bad faith. I prefer to think that it was a negotiation that broke down, perhaps because Mario Venzago wouldn't spend more time in Indy, perhaps because of money issues, perhaps about who makes artistic decisions. But that both sides did negotiate fairly and honestly, and just couldn't come to a consensus. Would you like to try on my rose-colored glasses?
It is interesting to read the comments in the online version of the story. This is actually the number one post on the newspaper's website right now, showing a high level of interest. However, some of the comments are by people who are attracted by the tabloid aspects rather than through caring about the ISO. And many of the comments show the same lack of awareness about the facts of most online venues. One commenter complained about the lack of new music, when the ISO actually does a good job of programming and commissioning new pieces.