New York City Opera Bankruptcy Official

By: Lacy Langley - October 2, 2013

The New York City Opera shuttered down after 70 years Tuesday, due to a failure to raise the $7 million dollars it needed to stay open. They used Kickstarter, a website that is used for fund-raising. Spokeswoman Risa Heller said about $2 million had been raised, plus another $301,019 was pledged from 2,108 donors in an online campaign.

The City Opera’s endowment had shrunk from $48 million in 2008 to $5.07 million at the end of June 2012, according to tax records. Its staff had been pared to 25 and its inventory of sets and costumes had been sold, but it just wasn’t enough.

“New York City Opera did not achieve the goal of its emergency appeal,” Heller said. “Today, the board and management will begin the necessary financial and operational steps to wind down the company, including initiating the Chapter 11 process.”

According to AP, the New York City Opera, at its peak, presented 12 to 16 operas with about 130 performances in a season. But this was to be the third straight season limited to only four stagings. It appears its last season, the Opera was reduced to a final performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Anna Nicole” on Saturday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

It was reportedly a decline over many decades, a cocktail of bad hiring combined with bad decisions.

“City Opera’s demise is the fault of people with a lot of money but no common sense, from Susan Baker’s absurd flirtation with Gerard Mortier to (board chairman) Charles Wall’s foolish support of George Steel when the singers and orchestra unanimously had no confidence in Steel’s artistic vision,” said Alan Gordon, who is the national executive director for the American Guild of Musical Artists that represents the chorus, stage directors and principal singers.

The Opera was a fixture in the culture scene, and will be greatly missed.

Image via new york city opera

About the Author

Lacy LangleyLacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.

View all posts by Lacy Langley