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New York City Opera: trials and tribulations


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#16 abatt

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 07:07 AM

I noticed that next season will be "truncated". I hope that they rent the Koch theater to some major ballet company when the theater is going to be dark.

#17 zerbinetta

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 02:31 PM

I noticed that next season will be "truncated". I hope that they rent the Koch theater to some major ballet company when the theater is going to be dark.


If you are referring to Spring 2009 season, abatt, the theater will be undergoing the second stage of renovation, which will include new seat upholstery, I'm told.

#18 richard53dog

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:15 PM

Earlier this week NYCO issued a press release announcing two new additions to their artistic adminstrations one in artistic planning and one in casting.

This is good news, at least they are still a going concern and I'm hoping that they will be able to release details of a 2009-2010 season soon. To my way of thinking, it's critical that they try to reconnect with their audience base this year.

Details of the release , with info on Edward Yim and Steven Blier follow:

"New York City Opera announces key appointments, as George Steel forms the
company's new artistic team.

(New York, NY, February 23, 2009) New York City Opera today announced the
appointment of two new members to its artistic team, and confirmed the
continuing participation of two key existing members, as the future City
Opera began to take shape under the leadership of its new General Manager and
Artistic Director, George Steel.

Joining City Opera will be Director of Artistic Planning Edward Yim, perhaps
best known for playing an integral role in the exciting and highly successful
multidisciplinary programming at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Casting
Advisor Steven Blier, an eminent pianist and vocal coach who is equally at home
in the traditional operatic repertoire and American popular song. Conductor
George Manahan, Music Director of City Opera since 1996, will continue in a role
to which he has brought distinction. Also continuing with the team will be the
outstanding accompanist and recitalist Kevin Murphy, a veteran of The
Metropolitan Opera and the Opera National de Paris, who came to City Opera in
September 2008 as Director of Music Administration.....

Edward Yim, the company's new Director of Artistic Planning, joins City Opera
from IMG Artists North America, where since 2006 he has managed a roster of
conductors, composers and instrumentalists and directed the Conductors and
Instrumentalists Division for IMG's New York office. Previously, as Director
of Artistic Planning for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association from 2000 to
2006, he oversaw programming across a wide range of musical genres at both the
Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. Over the course of fifteen
years in the field, he has cast the concert versions of a wide range of operas,
from Tristan und Isolde and Carmen to Nixon in China and Ainadamar.....

Steven Blier, the company's new Casting Advisor, is Artistic Director and
co-founder of the New York Festival of Song, which spans the repertoire of art
song from Schubert to Szymanowski and popular song from early vaudeville to
Lennon-McCartney. He also enjoys a notable career as an accompanist and vocal
coach, having performed in concert throughout North America and Europe with
Renee Fleming and having enjoyed a collaboration with Cecilia Bartoli since
1994. Among the many other artists he has partnered are Samuel Ramey, Lorraine
Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Jessye Norman, Wolfgang
Holzmair, Susanne Mentzer, Sylvia McNair, Jose van Dam, and Arlene Auger. A
champion of American music, he has premiered works of John Corigliano, Paul
Moravec, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, John Musto, Richard Danielpour, Tobias
s leading artists, including Michelle DeYoung, Bejun Mehta, Gary Lakes,
lvarez, PlC!cido Domingo, Frederica von Stade, RenC)e Fleming, Paul
Groves, Cecilia Bartoli and Kathleen Battle. He also enjoys a career as a
soloist and chamber music artist. He is a graduate of Indiana University
(BM in piano performance) and the Curtis Institute (MM in piano
accompaniment)......."

(balance of release omitted)

#19 bart

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:36 PM

Thanks very much for updating this thread, richard53dog.

To my way of thinking, it's critical that they try to reconnect with their audience base this year.

Absolutely. You're helping in that task.

#20 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:18 PM

Thanks very much for updating this thread, richard53dog.

To my way of thinking, it's critical that they try to reconnect with their audience base this year.

Absolutely. You're helping in that task.


Getting Steven Blier as casting advisor is a BIG plus, especially given Steel and Yim's relatively limited opera experience. Blier knows voices and has done genuinely admirable work in hiring and coaching up-and-coming young singers for his own NYFOS series in addition to unearthing and programming wonderful songs for them to sing. He'll know who to call and who is right for what part.

#21 zerbinetta

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 04:10 PM

That's fine as long as we aren't limited to IMG artists & Blier's students.

#22 richard53dog

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 06:09 PM

That's fine as long as we aren't limited to IMG artists & Blier's students.



I hear what you are saying. Certainly as a long term strategy that would be counterproductive...at least to the audience!

But I just wonder at the difficulty of putting together even a limited season that might start as soon as November 1, which is the date that I've heard the renovations at the NYST are supposed to be complete. NYCO may try a short season before NYCB comes back late in November. I have to think that options with finding singers for later this year or early next year are very, very limited.

Oh well, I really hope that NYCO can pull it off. They do have Superman at the helm. (George-Man-of-Steel) :D

#23 zerbinetta

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 09:24 PM

There is also the matter of trust. As late as August, all the singers engaged by Mortier were told the dates were firm and the contracts would soon be in the mail.

Some weeks went by but this is not unusual in the business where contracts are concerned.

Then they read in the paper that they would not be employed by City Opera for the two periods (Fall 2009 & spring 2010) they'd been saving for over a year.

This does not engender faith in the institution.

#24 Hans

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 11:46 PM

New York City Opera, struggling to shed financial and administrative turmoil, took a step forward on Wednesday, announcing its first operatic season since essentially shutting down a year ago during renovations to its home at Lincoln Center.

In 2009-10 the company will present a tasting menu — just five productions — symbolic of its traditions: modern works (Hugo Weisgall’s “Esther”), new productions (“Don Giovanni” in a staging by Christopher Alden), the underperformed (Chabrier’s “Étoile”), war horses (“Madama Butterfly”) and Baroque works (Handel’s “Partenope”).

“It was really a question of making a season that would remind people of all the wonderful things City Opera stands for,” George R. Steel, the general manager and artistic director, who took over those positions in January, said in an interview.


Read the rest here: http://www.nytimes.c...s...pera&st=cse

#25 richard53dog

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:43 AM

New York City Opera, struggling to shed financial and administrative turmoil, took a step forward on Wednesday, announcing its first operatic season since essentially shutting down a year ago during renovations to its home at Lincoln Center.

In 2009-10 the company will present a tasting menu — just five productions — symbolic of its traditions: modern works (Hugo Weisgall’s “Esther”), new productions (“Don Giovanni” in a staging by Christopher Alden), the underperformed (Chabrier’s “Étoile”), war horses (“Madama Butterfly”) and Baroque works (Handel’s “Partenope”).

“It was really a question of making a season that would remind people of all the wonderful things City Opera stands for,” George R. Steel, the general manager and artistic director, who took over those positions in January, said in an interview.


Read the rest here: http://www.nytimes.c...s...pera&st=cse



Also, in an email NYCO sent out to supporters, an opening gala, with participation by their co-tenant NYCB, is described:

Opening Night Gala Celebration

On November 5, 2009, New York City Opera celebrates the opening of the 2009-2010 season with a gala concert showcasing the historic role of the company in American opera and musical theater. The concert will feature renowned artists, many of whom began their careers with the company, along with the special participation of the New York City Ballet. This momentous evening will also honor David H. Koch and welcome our new General Manager and Artistic Director, George Steel.



I wish them all the best of luck

#26 richard53dog

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 06:35 AM

Well, the NY Times reports another possible obstacle in getting the NYCO back on the stage this Fall.

http://www.nytimes.c...S_BRF.html?_r=2

Is this just posturing or is AGMA really unwilling to bargain?

On the other hand there is the statement that whatever deal is reached with the orchestra, whose contract is up next month, will
indicate what direction the other disciplines will go.

#27 zerbinetta

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 11:31 AM

Here's hoping Mr Steel has dealt with unions prior to meeting with the daunting and unbending (and several other words which are not so nice) Local 802.

#28 Hans

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 11:39 AM

I read about the possibility of a strike today, too. Let us hope it does not come to that!

#29 dirac

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 03:51 PM

The damage done at New York City Opera is summarized by Zinta Lundborg for Bloomberg News.

Now, with another whopping $6.6 million used for operating expenses, the endowment is down to barely $3 million.

Lest you think the company’s disastrous financial situation reflects a melting economy, the damage has been largely self- inflicted. A clueless board led by Susan Baker has squandered the company’s endowment and ruined its good name.



#30 zerbinetta

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:11 PM

The damage done at New York City Opera is summarized by Zinta Lundborg for Bloomberg News.

Now, with another whopping $6.6 million used for operating expenses, the endowment is down to barely $3 million.

Lest you think the company’s disastrous financial situation reflects a melting economy, the damage has been largely self- inflicted. A clueless board led by Susan Baker has squandered the company’s endowment and ruined its good name.

There are so many errors, assumptions and distortions in Lundborg's article, it's difficult to know where to begin.

Suffice to say that the opera didn't have to pay off singers' contracts as the singers never got to sign them. The dates were set last August and the contracts were promised but never arrived. The singers were stuck with holes in their schedules for fall 2009 and spring 2010.


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