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New York City Opera: trials and tribulations


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#91 dirac

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:36 AM

From The Wall Street Journal.

After huge budget cuts and a damaging labor fight, City Opera is on track this season to balance its budget for the first time since 2000. But it will be years before the company can expand its season to the eight or 10 annual productions it hopes to stage, officials said.


Hanging in there.

#92 Helene

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:42 AM

It might have an appropriate niche with the current number of productions and the same repertory and size of budget. There seems to be a bias for it to return to a model that didn't work.

#93 Helene

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:55 AM

Alex Ross isn't impressed: in a link Ray posted to the Met Ring discussion thread, Ross wrote:

Last month, having been priced out of Lincoln Center, the company decamped to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to present “La Traviata” and Rufus Wainwright’s “Prima Donna.” Neither show felt like a turnaround.

http://www.newyorker...s#ixzz1uUUYIQIP


Later in the review he writes in greater detail, concluding:

This has been the most dispiriting opera season since I began reviewing music in New York, twenty years ago. Although the economic crisis has taken its toll, the problem is less a lack of money than a lack of intellectual vitality. Both the Met and City Opera are committing the supreme operatic sin: they are thinking small.



#94 abatt

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:31 AM

I'm linking an article from the NY Times regarding the current health of NY City Opera. The author posits that City Opera shoudl again make its permanent home at NY City Center. That is very ironic.. The reason that most visiting ballet companies had to book at City Center was because City Opera occupied the State Theater for 16 weeks per year. Now many ballet companies have abandoned City Center in favor of the the State (Koch) Theater, due to the vacancy left by City Opera's abandonment of the venue.

http://www.nytimes.c....html?ref=music

#95 dirac

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:00 PM

A quote from the article:

So where does this leave City Opera for the future? Mr. Steel made inspired choices of works and directors. All four shows were artistically strong. But because City Opera must rent space and build each production to order, it had to crowd its offerings into concentrated periods of two weeks each: the first two at the academy in February; the second two at City Center this month, for a total of just 16 performances.



The books are balanced, the article also says. So the company really is hanging in there, and a bit more than that. A home could only help.

#96 mussel

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 02:29 PM

NYCO is in danger of canceling the rest of the current season and the next season unless $20 millions is raised.



#97 bart

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:45 PM

helpsmilie.gif According to the article this amount is more than they were able to raise in even the best years before the recession.  The NYCO thrift shop on 23rd St. earns more money for the company than the endowment! 
 
It seems like just a weeks ago that the Times had an article speculating about a possible move to NY City Center.  And now .... ???
 
I got introduced to NYCO when I was a high school student -- around the time I first attended NY City Ballet -- both at City Center.  Decent tickets were $1.95 and $2.95 and there was a city subsidy.  I saw and heard Domingo, Triegle, Sills, Milnes, Malfitano, Ramey, Verrett in always presentable, sometimes extraordinary productions, This was affordable, high-quality "people's opera," just as Balanchine's company was "people's ballet."   That kind of dream is long dead in this part of the world.  Now it seems that even a stripped down company which performs rarely can't afford the tariff to make it in New York City.
 
I'm sorry for the artists who will never get the chance to perform in such a company, and the audiences -- including young people -- who will never be able to afford decent seats at world-class musical theater.  And for the young classical musicians who are on the way to losing one more possible source of employment.
 
This is depressing on so many levels.

#98 Jayne

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 12:47 PM

I'd be curious to see budgets from the former salad days compared to 2013.  What is the big difference in costs? 



#99 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 05:47 AM

 

Sigh ... this even seems to have caught the folks who put together New York Magazine's very up-to-the-minute Approval Matrix by surprise. Check out this week's entry in the "Highbrow and Brilliant" quadrant (the upper right), which I assume is a thumbs up for NYCO's 2013-2014 season, beginning with the much hyped BAM co-production of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole:

 

"St. Anne's Warehouse finally has a permanent home -- in the Tobacco Warehouse ... Meanwhile, after giving up its home, New York City Opera seems to be brilliantly homeless ..."  

 

Perhaps NYCO's sad plight will make it to the "Lowbrow and Despicable" quadrant in next week's issue.

 

Parterre Box's La Cieca, meanwhile, has a slightly more cynical take. Go here and here.

 

There were many things NYCO did much, much better than the Met ... its demise will be a real loss.



#100 Jayne

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 08:25 PM

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.

 

NYCO seems to be a victim of both the economic times and the changes in population in NYC.  Of course they is a relationship between the two.  NYC has become so extraordinarily expensive that living wages for workers must be high for them to survive in the city.  Consequently the unions press for extremely high hourly wages when compared to cities such as Atlanta or Minneapolis.  This means the wage related expenses for "popular" arts such as NYCB and NYCO are rising as well.  There are also changes to the population of NYC.  In 1955 there was a large population of European immigrants and second generation children who were familiar with Opera in Italy, Russia, Germany, etc.  Slowly they have moved out to the suburbs and other cities.  Replacing them are immigrants from Africa, Latin America, Southeast and Northern Asia, and the Middle East.  They grew up with different musical heritages and pay for tickets to other music forms in NYC.

 

At the city and state level, the politics of obstruction and anti-intellectualism mean that opera is not going to receive more state or city subisidies.  

 

I don't know if NYCO can survive this blow.  I do not necessarily think all the blame lies with Mr Steele.  Other dance and musical companies have come and gone, and new ones will spring up.  NYC is forever moving forward.  



#101 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:32 AM

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.



#102 California

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 11:53 AM

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

 

http://www.kickstart...urce=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?")



#103 Helene

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 03:13 PM

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



#104 abatt

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 01:41 PM

NY City Opera may declare bankruptcy

 

http://www.nytimes.c....html?ref=music



#105 dirac

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 11:34 PM

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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