City Opera Struggles to Raise $7 Million By Monday

Email a Friend

The people's opera might go belly up. The New York City Opera has until Monday to reach its fundraising goal of $7 million, or it will begin bankruptcy proceedings. And so far, the fundraising is not going well. Since it launched its appeal on Sept. 12, the company has raised just about $1.5 million.

The company has gone from presenting 130 performances in a season to just four in the past two seasons. Its endowment has dwindled from $48 million in 2008 to $5 million at the end of June 2012. Plus, there have been layoffs. Bankruptcy implies a reorganization — but is this the end of City Opera?
"I cannot see beyond the bankruptcy... the board's picture of it is that they will be wrapping up business," said George Steel, the company's general manager and artistic director. If the company does file for bankruptcy, Steel said, nearly all of the staff will be laid off and the orchestra, chorus, stage mangers and other staff will be out of work.

Still, he said he's hopeful a savior will come forward to rescue the financially-strapped company before next week's deadline.

To listen to Host Amy Eddings' full conversation with George Steel, click on the audio above.