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New York City Opera: trials and tribulations


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113 replies to this topic

#46 dirac

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:18 PM

Hello, Canary. I don't think I've had the opportunity to welcome you to the board so let me do so now. Thanks for commenting. Do the New Yorkers out there have any thoughts(although many of you have commented in this thread already. Feel free to do so again, though :flowers:)

#47 Helene

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:15 AM

NYCO announced it's 2010-11 season today:

http://artsbeat.blog...its-new-season/

They've got some interesting things lined up:

*Séance on a Wet Afternoon (Stephen Schwartz, with Lauren Flannigan)
*A Quiet Place (Bernstein)
*Intermezzo
*Elisir d'Amor
*3 Modern One-Acts: La Machine de l’être (Zorn), Erwartung (Schoenberg), Neither (Feldmen, with libretto by Beckett)

Also mentioned are two concerts:

Lucky to Be Me: The Vocal Music of Leonard Bernstein (two days)
Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz (Spring Gala, with emcees and participants from Broadway)


NYCO is certainly differentiating itself from the Met with this programming.

#48 richard53dog

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:01 AM

Yes, the programming is pretty imaginative. But 5 bills spread out over two seasons is still a tiny slate compared to programming before the dark season/Mortier mess/recession. With so few performances they are literally just hanging on. There are a number of problems, funding is probably foremost. Will they be able to drum up support on the level of just a few seasons ago?

And even if they do, their performance opportunities are far more limited than they have been for years. I understand
that their fall season was an easier sell than the winter/spring one but much of that lucrative fall time is no longer available to them as it has been grabbed by NYCB. I don't know how permanent the three season layout for NYCB
is but it certainly cuts into what was prime time for NYCO in the weeks following Labor Day. And if it is permanent
than I think NYCO needs to find a new venue. With limited performance opportunities it will be hard for NYCO to regain their previous level of financial health.

#49 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:27 AM

What - no Handel? This must be the first NYCO season in quite some time that didn't feature a Handel opera. Too bad - NYCO could usually be counted on to deliver a decent production and a good cast, and I believe their Handel productions did OK at the box office, too. I always enjoyed their off-the-beaten path 19th century opera productions, too; "L'esir d'amore" is a delightful opera, but it would be nice to sample some more rarely seen works by Donizetti, Rossini, or Bellini instead.

But I'm really intrigued by the three "monodramas" -- "Erwartung" is the only one I know -- and a chance to hear Lauren Flannigan is always welcome.

I've heard so much good stuff at NYCO that you don't really hear much of anywhere else -- I'm hopeful the company can be rebuilt into a substantial presence once again.

#50 liebs

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:31 AM

NYCB didn't grab the fall. NYCO handed it to them because they could afford to pay for the weeks.

#51 richard53dog

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:55 AM

NYCB didn't grab the fall. NYCO handed it to them because they could afford to pay for the weeks.



Well, whatever the actual mechanics were, it's an unfortunate step for NYCO long term if they are ever to lengthen their performance schedule. If short term it solved the problem of paying the immediate bills, it's still a bit like cannibalizing your young. YEah, you have to eat, but your baby's gone. If it's a permanent arrangement for those prime fall weeks, I think it may very well come down to NYCO either going under or finding a new home.

#52 Helene

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:00 AM

I hope they get a new home. But wasn't it Lincoln Center that blocked their attempts for a new house down by Battery (before the economy collapsed)?

#53 richard53dog

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:24 AM

I hope they get a new home. But wasn't it Lincoln Center that blocked their attempts for a new house down by Battery (before the economy collapsed)?



I'm fuzzy on the details but I thought the interference from the Lincoln Center umbrella management was more a hindrance in building a new theater in the new building behind LC on AMsterdam Av. But you may be right in that they jinxed the deal downtown too.

Whatever has taken place it seems like there has been a sad long sequence of things that have gone wrong for NYCO.
They are a special company to me, I saw my first operas there many, many ,MANY years ago and have always enjoyed the varied rep they've done. Also back in the 60s and 70s there were so many edgy, compelling productions of standard rep; Frank Corsaro's Traviata's , Faust, and Butterfly were terrific takes on bread and butter rep.

But I don't think they were ever really all that welcome at Lincoln Center. The theater has always been unsuitable for them and Rudolph Bing at the Met did everything he could to block their move from City Center to Lincoln Center.


At this point I'd like to seem them get a break.

#54 dirac

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 08:44 PM

I'm not a New Yorker but it would seem to me a real loss to the city if NYCO can't make it. Very sad situation.

#55 richard53dog

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 06:09 AM


I hope they get a new home. But wasn't it Lincoln Center that blocked their attempts for a new house down by Battery (before the economy collapsed)?



I'm fuzzy on the details but I thought the interference from the Lincoln Center umbrella management was more a hindrance in building a new theater in the new building behind LC on AMsterdam Av. But you may be right in that they jinxed the deal downtown too.


At this point I'd like to seem them get a break.


Well, a significant step has been taken in the saga of this long, sad, tale. Susan Baker, the board chairman that has
led NYCO through many of the crazy events of the last seven years( including the two failed attempts to move to a new home touched on above) has been replaced.
http://www.bloomberg...ed-company.html

Charles R Wall comes from Altria corp (don't want to TOUCH that one!) and hopefully he will be able to turn this beleaguered company around. I think it was inevitable that Baker had to go; right or wrong, too many negative events are attributed to her and I would guess that it has impacted on fund raising.

Here's hoping this is the start to a new , more positive, future for NYCO!

#56 richard53dog

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 05:55 AM

Well, a significant step has been taken in the saga of this long, sad, tale. Susan Baker, the board chairman that has
led NYCO through many of the crazy events of the last seven years( including the two failed attempts to move to a new home touched on above) has been replaced.
http://www.bloomberg...ed-company.html

Charles R Wall comes from Altria corp (don't want to TOUCH that one!) and hopefully he will be able to turn this beleaguered company around. I think it was inevitable that Baker had to go; right or wrong, too many negative events are attributed to her and I would guess that it has impacted on fund raising.

Here's hoping this is the start to a new , more positive, future for NYCO!



Sadly, more discouraging news on this front. As I noted in September, Charles Wall took over as Chairman in this beloved but struggling organization. They did open a limited Spring season but they have delayed the announcement about plans for the Fall. Well, not terribly surprisingly, they have finally announced that they will suspend operations for a while. No Fall season, maybe a move to another, less expensive venue, etc.

The Spring season got some good but not superlative notices but attendance has been spotty. Also , NYCO's agreement with AGMA expires the end of the month and how that enters into the mix, I don't even want to speculate.

I saw my first opera at NYCO, back in 1967 (am I really THAT old???) and so this company is very special to me and it's discouraging to see it struggle so much. There have been some terrible leadership gaffes over the last several years but I'm really hoping it can bob up to the surface again and pull through.

More details http://online.wsj.co...3210258378.html

#57 abatt

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 08:07 AM

In view of the fact that there will not be a fall season from NYCO, I hope the Koch Theater can be rented. Personally, I would much prefer to see an ABT mini fall season at the Koch than at City Center.

#58 richard53dog

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 08:33 AM

In view of the fact that there will not be a fall season from NYCO, I hope the Koch Theater can be rented. Personally, I would much prefer to see an ABT mini fall season at the Koch than at City Center.



I would too. But it may be too late in the game to change a venue for just 5 or so months away. But I guess we will have to wait and see what NYCO decides and that may free up some blocks of time at the DHK.

#59 dirac

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 10:10 AM

Thank you for keeping this thread up to date, richard53dog.

#60 abatt

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 05:26 AM

http://www.nytimes.c...n.html?ref=arts

More troubles at NYCO.


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