New York City Opera to file bankruptcy

Art Snob Blog

The Atlantic Wire, an online outlet for the Atlantic Magazine, is reporting that New York City Opera will file for bankruptcy tomorrow. The company, once rescued by the star power and managerial savvy of Beverly Sills, has gone through numerous crises since it was established in 1943 as a cheap-ticket alternative to the Met, "the people's opera company."

There will be no shortage of finger pointing. Some say the present distress stems from the company's ill-advised move to Lincoln Center decades ago. The center, they insist, was a big government boondoggle that, when the boondogglery reached a tipping point, was too big for the city to continue subsidizing.

Here's one of several wire articles about the demise now up, this one from David Ng of the Los Angeles Times.

New York City Opera, the venerated institution that New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia once affectionately dubbed the "people's opera," has officially lowered the curtain for good.

The company announced on Tuesday morning that it has begun the process of shutting down and that it will enter bankruptcy protection. The move was widely expected after the company failed to raise $7 million in an emergency fundraising campaign launched last month.

City Opera, which has been New York's second-largest opera company, has been experiencing financial difficulty since at least 2008, when the company slashed its operating budget, prompting Gerard Mortier to quit his future position as the company's general and artistic director.

The recession continued to pummel the company, which left its longtime home at Lincoln Center in 2011.

City Opera's demise leaves only one major opera company in New York — the Metropolitan Opera.

A local branch of the American Federation of Musicians — the union representing the company's instrumental musicians — blamed City Opera's management in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Tino Gagliardi, president of Local 802, said that the company's decision to move out of Lincoln Center was "reckless" and that its recent artistic and management decisions have resulted in "financial disaster for the company."

City Opera was founded in 1943. The company's most recent production was "Anna Nicole," the opera about the late tabloid star that ended its run Saturday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.