Thursday, October 3, 2013

NYC Opera may file for bankruptcy

The beleaguered company's board voted to start winding down its operations as its effort to raise $1 million through a Kickstarter campaign falls flat.It appears that the fat lady is warming up to sing.

The board of the troubled New York City Opera voted Thursday to file for bankruptcy next week if it doesn't raise $7 million by Monday, a spokeswoman for the company said.
Prospects appear bleak. It has raised $1.5 million since announcing earlier this month that it needed to raise $7 million to keep the 2013-2014 season going. The company hoped to raise $1 million of that through a Kickstarter campaign, but as of late Thursday afternoon, 973 donors had pledged $156,463.
The Opera had also said it needed an additional $13 million to have a 2014-2015 season.
The company has been struggling for several years despite producing innovative and well-reviewed work.
It started running deficits in 2003, according to published reports. It missed a season in 2008-2009 when its longtime home, the New York State Theater, at Lincoln Center was refurbished. However, it left that theater in 2011 to save money and began performing in other venues around the city. George Steel, the company's general manager and artistic director, has managed to balance the budget in recent years but the company had been dipping into its endowment to pay bills.
"It would be absolutely appalling to imagine a city as great as New York not being able to have two major opera companies," Kasper Holten, director of opera at London's Covent Garden told the Associated Press. "If you look at London, if you look at Berlin, if you look at Moscow, if you look at Vienna, they have two opera houses, and of course New York should have two opera houses."
The opera was founded 70 years ago, and was deemed "the people's opera" by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Over the years, it fostered the careers of stars such as Beverly Sills, Plácido Domingo and Renée Fleming.
Mr. Steel and the board were not available for comment.

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