A Concrete Problem

SAM's sculpture park endures labor pains. Plus: UW, opera news.

A CONCRETE PROBLEM

First an earthquake, then a problematic trolley barn, and now a concrete strike. What's next: Hell? High water? Certainly the visionaries who first proposed the Olympic Sculpture Park couldn't have foreseen the difficulties the 9-acre waterfront project would encounter along the way. This week, Seattle Art Museum announced that a strike by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302, now nearly a month old, may delay the garden's planned Oct. 28 opening. "We are continuing with construction, but we have been affected by the dwindling concrete supply. At the moment, we don't know how this will affect the park and the opening date," says SAM spokesperson Erika Lindsay. But what's a few more days or months to those of us waiting for our Calder/Serra fix? Original planners first announced an opening date sometime in 2003. LYNN JACOBSON

UW IN HARMONY

Good news from the University of Washington School of Music, at a time when it needs it: After losing, for various reasons, six full-time faculty members last year (see "Musical Chairs," June 21), and putting in a request to the College of Arts & Sciences to launch searches to fill five of these slots, department head Robin McCabe reports that all five searches have been approved, namely flute, voice, composition, jazz studies, and trombone. Here's hoping the searches run smoothly, and that the five new faculty members will help heal what was a body blow to the School of Music. GAVIN BORCHERT

HIGH PRAISE

Pacific Northwest Ballet got a big wet kiss from New York Times dance reviewer Roslyn Sulcas, who covered the company's debut at East Coast dance mecca Jacob's Pillow in rural Massachusetts. In an Aug. 21 write-up, Sulcas lauded the dancers, the choreographers (including locals Paul Gibson and Sonia Dawkins), and especially Peter Boal— the popular artistic director PNB snatched away from the ranks of New York City Ballet just over one season ago. LYNN JACOBSON

WAGNERIAN IDOL

The full house seemed to be having a great time at Seattle Opera's inaugural Wagner Competition, especially when it was announced a little before 11 p.m. that the two singers (of eight contestants) who'd gotten the most fervent ovations were the two winners, Irish soprano Miriam Murphy and English baritone James Rutherford. Her rendition of Isolde's Narrative and Curse, and his of "Die Frist ist um" from The Flying Dutchman, both delivered with edge-of-your-seat dramatic power, drew the kind of roars and screams you rarely hear in McCaw Hall, earning them $15,000 each. To close, Susan Hutchison from the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences (which ponied up $300,000 to fund the competition) announced there would indeed be further Wagner Competitions; the fund will sponsor the next one in 2008. GAVIN BORCHERT

 
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