Edward Corn, the executive vice president and general director of Wolf Trap, has resigned, citing a "shift in priorities" at the performing arts park. He will become general director of the Minnesota Opera Company.
"Of necessity, after the fire," Corn said yesterday, "the basic priority is to rebuild. It will be best for me to go elsewhere." The Wolf Trap Filene Center was destroyed in a fire last April. The federal government, which maintains the park physically, has recommended that Congress appropriate a $9 million grant and another $9 million in a loan to the Wolf Trap Foundation to rebuild.
Corn, whose job at Wolf Trap entailed coordinating, supervising, and planning, will leave Aug. 31, exactly one year after he started the job. Corn, 49, was approached by the Minnesota Opera Company four weeks ago. He begins his duties there in December.
"There have been disagreements," said Corn of his relationship with Wolf Trap officials. He said, however, that he was leaving under friendly circumstances. "I think very highly of Wolf Trap and I don't want to seem negative. It's a remarkable place with remarkable people. I just think it's best for me not to be here."
Corn said he would be around Wolf Trap for the showing of the epic film "Napoleon" in early September, the project that he put together. "I want to be of use to them for 'Napoleon,' " he said. "This is all amicable."
Corn said the emphasis at Wolf Trap, as it finishes its 12th season in the temporary structure erected after the fire, has shifted away from "producing, developing all kinds of new ideas. They're not doing what I think I'm best at doing -- planning and just arts things in general. I'm not saying it's not happening at all, just that the emphasis is different."
Carol Harford, president of the Wolf Trap Foundation, said, "It's true that we've had to shift the priorities. We mutually agreed that since he had a very good offer it was a wise decision to make. We certainly wish him well . . . It should be a nice opportunity for him . . . his first love is opera."
Harford said that before the fire, Wolf Trap "had hoped to do some expansion of programs, do more of our own productions. We had hoped to expand the Wolf Trap Opera Company and take it on tour. We had hoped to expand the education program. This year, we will have to continue at a sustaining level and put our effort toward raising our share of the funds for rebuilding."