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Interview: New York City Opera May Cancel Season

Monday, September 09, 2013

New York City Opera will be forced to cancel most of its current season and all of next season if it does not raise $20 million by the end of December, company officials said on Sunday.

The company revealed the steep shortfall just before its season opens on Sept. 17 with the American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera Anna Nicole, a co-production with the Brooklyn Academy of Music. That highly-anticipated production about Anna Nicole Smith has enough funds to proceed, City Opera said in a statement, but the rest of the season will be scrapped if it cannot raise $7 million by Sept. 30. It needs an additional $13 million by the end of the year if it is to produce a season in 2014-2015.

"We have reached a crossroads," said George Steel, City Opera’s general manager and artistic director in the statement. "Simply put, we need capitalization, both for the rest of this season and for the company to continue forward on solid financial footing.”

The emergency fundraising appeal comes as the company appeared to be returning to some measure of stability. In 2011, City Opera embarked on a painful – and controversial – period of downsizing after a financial crisis. It moved out of its longtime home at Lincoln Center and became a touring outfit. It renegotiated musicians' contracts (cutting salaries by some 80 percent), laid off staff and auctioned off decades' worth of old sets and costumes in order to trim costs. It is currently presenting four shows a year, down from as many as 16 a decade ago.

"City Opera just has not been able to find its footing in the last few years, either financially or artistically,"says WQXR's Naomi Lewin. "It's hard to put your finger on exactly what New York City Opera is in this city landscape these days."

City Opera has launched an online Kickstarter campaign to raise $1 million of its $7 million goal for September.

 

To hear the full interview with WQXR's Naomi Lewin, click on the audio above.

Guests:

Naomi Lewin

Produced by:

Alec Hamilton

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Comments [2]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard WAGNER music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ


Let's not forget that the first general manager and chief conductor of the New York City Opera was LASZLO
HALASZ, appoInted by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Halasz integrated the orchestra with a female black tympanist, Broadway stage directors and set and costume designers and commissioned and performed works by American composers including Leonard Bernstein. I studied my operatic roles, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini,Richard Strauss, Rossini, Donizetti, and Meyerbeer with Maestro Halasz for 30 years. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, opera composer and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. Our country's emphasis on approbation and supporting the widest possible audience, allowing for the lack in the school systems for teaching the humanities, art and music, so that the general public knows NOTHING of the great cultural achievements and masterpieces, accounts for the non-interest in opera and classical music by the masses. If an insufficient number of the public buys tickets, NO POTENTIAL FINANCIAL SUSTENANCE will take up the slack.

Nov. 23 2013 12:05 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ


Let's not forget that the first general manager and chief conductor of the New York City Opera was LASZLO
HALASZ, appoInted by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Halasz integrated the orchestra with a female black tympanist, Broadway stage directors and set and costume designers and commissioned and performed works by American composers including Leonard Bernstein. I studied my operatic roles, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini,Richard Strauss, Rossini, Donizetti, and Meyerbeer with Maestro Halasz for 30 years. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, opera composer and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. Our country's emphasis on approbation and supporting the widest possible audience, allowing for the lack in the school systems for teaching the humanities, art and music, so that the general public knows NOTHING of the great cultural achievements and masterpieces, accounts for the non-interest in opera and classical music by the masses. If an insufficient number of the public buys tickets, NO POTENTIAL FINANCIAL SUSTENANCE will take up the slack.

Nov. 23 2013 12:03 PM

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