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Tax Relief: The D.C. Council has removed the controversial proposed arts tax from the FY 2012 budget. In a release sent early this morning, the Helen Hayes Awards credited arts leaders—-including their own President & CEO Linda Levy Grossman—- and others for the proposal’s withdrawal. “This successful withdrawal of the ticket tax was also due to a collaborative effort of arts leaders, constituents, audience members, artists, and approximately 5,000 petition signers—-all of whom value Washington, D.C.’s arts community and recognize the devastating loss—-rather than unfounded revenue—-that such a tax might have generated.”

Familiar Faces: The Washington National Opera has named stage director Francesca Zambello its artistic adviser. It’s a smart but unsurprising move: Zambello has directed eight WNO productions, including an ambitious run of Wagner’s Ring cycle that was cut short amidst a budget crisis; she also worked with Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser at London’s Royal Opera House. But her role does not mirror that of departing artistic director Placido Domingo. Zambello told the Post, “This is an open-ended, exploratory job right now.” She hopes to shape the overall role of opera in Washington as the once autonomous company transitions to an official partnership with the Kennedy Center.

Yesterday on Arts Desk: Benjamin R. Freed rolls out this year’s AFI Silverdocs offerings; Amanda Abrams critiques D.C.’s unadventurous modern dance scene.