abatt

New York City Opera: trials and tribulations

114 posts in this topic

My goodness Kathleen, reading those blogs was depressing. I recall that another poster (perhaps Drew) has mentioned that Opera blogs can be heavy on the snark, and passionate debates can quickly devolve into acidic sniping. The comments on some of the blogs certainly reflects that.

Nothing prepares one for a good wallow in the mud of an acrimonious "debate" like the comments section of an opera blog. There will be peace in the Middle East before there's and end to the Callas v Tebaldi flame wars -- and we're talking about two deceased women who haven't been heard live in a theater in decades.

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Kickstarter just sent out the NYCO site by e-mail. Looks like they have a long way to go:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1551842735/the-peoples-opera-new-york-city-operas-2013-2014-s?ref=NewsSep1213&utm_campaign=Sep12&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter

(This reminds me of an old bumper sticker: "Wouldn't it be great if the schools had all the money they needed and the Defense Department had to hold bake sales?")

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Nothing prepares one for a good wallow in the mud of an acrimonious "debate" like the comments section of an opera blog. There will be peace in the Middle East before there's and end to the Callas v Tebaldi flame wars -- and we're talking about two deceased women who haven't been heard live in a theater in decades.

I committed a grave sin this afternoon: listening to the sleepwalking scene from "La Sonnambula" on the Met Opera Channel on Sirius, I thought, "Oh, that must be Callas" and walked back to check the radio display, and it said it was Renata Tebaldi. It was playing in the background, and she was off pitch, so it wasn't entirely crazy, but it was still blushing.gif .

Then a few excerpts later, Leonie Rysanek nailed "Pace, pace" from "La Forza," so all was well again, and George London is now singing Wotan's passage from the end of "Das Rheingold." flowers.gif

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Kickstarter just sent out the NYCO site by e-mail. Looks like they have a long way to go:

Kickstarter is a fine idea, but I'm not sure it's the answer for long-term expensive undertakings. Opera requires rich people opening their pockets in a big way or state support. No getting around that, I'm afraid.

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I think it was an act of desperation - a last resort effort. Since George Steel was merely trying to clean up the mess created by his predecessors, I can't really fault him for this dopey, last minute Kickstart campaign. The villains here are Susan Baker and Gerard Mortier, not George Steel. Actually, does anyone else have a feeling that after they declare bankruiptcy and thereby cut off all their pension and benefit obligations to their long time employees and union members, they will come back in some other form (like the airlines, for example).

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Actually, does anyone else have a feeling that after they declare bankruiptcy and thereby cut off all their pension and benefit obligations to their long time employees and union members, they will come back in some other form (like the airlines, for example).

I wouldn't be surprised, but I would be dismayed.

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I think NYCB is in pretty good financial shape to absorb the $1.6 million bad debt. I go to opera may be 1-3 times a year so I don't consider myself an opera fan but I am really sad to see NYCO goes and it's a blow to NYC reputation as cultural capital that it can't support 2 opera companies.

I think the pivotal point was when NYCO took one year hiatus during the renovation of the State Theater, therefore, losing one year of ticket revenue and significant portion of donations. Subscribers and donors are creature of habits, many of them didn't come back after the hiatus. The irony is the renovation was NYCO's idea, NYCB was happy with the way the theater was. Leaving Lincoln Center drove away most of the remaining subscribers and donors as they didn't like the new venues or their new seat or hated to go from one theater to another for different performances.

There're chatters whether ABT would make a move from the Met to the State Theater after the contract with the Met expires at the end of the 2015 Met season. ABT needs to prepare itself that it'll lose some subscribers and donors if the move materializes.

[Admin note: discussion of ABT's plans after the 2015 contract ends has been split off to this thread:

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/37889-abt-met-contract-ends-in-2015/

Please continue the discussion there.]

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I go to opera may be 1-3 times a year so I don't consider myself an opera fan but I am really sad to see NYCO goes and it's a blow to NYC reputation as cultural capital that it can't support 2 opera companies..

Agreed. Very sad it ended this way.

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WQXR chose its "five most noteworthy" NYCO productions:

1. William Grant Still's "Troubled Island"

2. Handel's "Giulio Cesare"

3. Ginastera's "Don Rodrigo"

4. Boito's "Mefistofeles"

5. Carlisle Floyd's "Susannah"

They asked for listener's thoughts in the comments.

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Another perspective:

It’s painful to think about it. Life changes. Regarding the last seasons of New York City Opera, I felt that they were grabbing at straws, trying to figure out how to get another generation interested in an art form that is basically alien from “normal” life and yet is big enough to contain it. We have gone back to a Louis XIV “Sun King” economy — the top 0.01 percent owns most of us at this point — without the genius to capture art and use it as Louis did.

Which reminded me of a remark by Fran Lebowitz: “An audience with a high level of connoisseurship is as important to the culture as artists. That audience died in five minutes.”

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It's just sad.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/new-york-city-opera-to-auction-instruments-and-other-items/?ref=arts


New York City Opera to Auction Instruments and Other Items By MICHAEL COOPER

One harpsichord, used, a veteran of many a recitative. A five-octave celesta. A whole percussion-section worth of instruments, including drums, a gong and even a cowbell.

The instruments — which belong to the now-bankrupt New York City Opera — will be auctioned off on Dec. 12 at 10:30 a.m., along with some costumes, scenery and the old office phone system in an online sale being billed as the “Last Chance to Own a Piece of Opera History.”

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