Monday, October 13, 2014

A statement

My postings about the now closed Opera Boston on the Hub Review, like all my postings, are purely an avocation, not a vocation.  I am not compensated for what I write. I rather write in the hope of sharing information and ideas with others.  Against the advice of others, I don't accept advertising and don't provide links to "bounties" from e-commerce sites.  Often I express opinions, and often I express facts.  Almost always, I get it right.

In comments posted on January 15-19, 2012 and on September 21, 2013, in regard to Randolph Fuller, I expressed opinions which were speculative, some of which have since been shown to be untrue. I did not have all the facts, and indeed I still don't.  I believe I therefore owe Mr. Fuller a retraction and an apology, which I am hereby making, in an effort to make amends and to undo some of the harm inflicted on a person who has been a dedicated and generous patron of the arts for many decades in Boston.  Here is the background:

Opera Boston, a company which Mr. Fuller was instrumental in founding, collapsed at the end of December, 2011. (Mr. Fuller was not a director or officer at the time, but was the company's largest donor.) Publicly available sources, including a statement of the Opera Boston Board released to the press on January 3, 2012, state that the demise of Opera Boston was a direct result of the fact that the company faced an insurmountable burden of current liabilities and future obligations.  According to the final auditor's total, these amounted to more than $1 million.

Other commentators and I suggested at the time that Mr. Fuller caused the demise of Opera Boston.  For my part, partially based on reportage in the Boston Globe, I speculated that Mr. Fuller withheld his financial support at this critical juncture, perhaps out of spite, leaving subscribers in the lurch.

Mr. Fuller has since shown that he was a generous contributor throughout the tenure of Carole Charnow, the longstanding General Director of Opera Boston, and even more so during 2011 when Lesley Koenig, Ms. Charnow's successor, was in office.  Moreover once the decision to close Opera Boston was made by the Board at the end of 2011, Mr. Fuller contributed generously in 2012 to assure that staff and subscribers were largely reimbursed in the months following the collapse of the company.

I was unfair to Mr. Fuller in two other respects.  First, I said that it appeared he had conducted a "putsch" against Lesley Koenig.  Second, I pointed out that prior to the collapse of Opera Boston, he had apparently withdrawn his support from two previous enterprises, and inferred he might do so again in the future.  I have no evidence, however, to prove these statements and the resulting inference that he might likewise withdraw his support from other non-profits he is currently supporting or may support in future, and I acknowledge that these inferences are hurtful.

For these reasons, I am therefore withdrawing my posts from January 2012 and September 2013, and, as I said, I am apologizing to Mr. Fuller.

My hope looking forward is to continue to support the Boston arts community and to encourage its growth.  The only way to achieve that goal is for all opera enthusiasts, Mr. Fuller and myself included, to remain steadfast in our belief that Boston is made better by the arts.

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