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Lights out as New York opera company suspends operations

The suspension is for six  months, in the hope that DiCapo can raise more donations. DiCapo describes itself as the only opera company in New York, after the Metropolitan Opera and the City Opera, to present an entire season of opera productions, musical theatre, concerts, family fare, and other events. Here is the suspension notice it has posted:

dicapoopera

Dear Friend of Dicapo Opera Theatre,

I am writing to announce that Dicapo Opera Theatre will be going on a six-month hiatus, effective immediately. Dicapo Opera Theatre, its Board of Directors and Friends will devote this time to raising $1.2 million to enable the company to pay off its existing debts (over $600,000) and lay the groundwork for the 2013-2014 season.

This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in the 31-year history of Dicapo. As you are all aware, I built this company with my own hands. It is my life. You, our devoted audience—subscribers, ticket-buyers, donors—have always been here to support us, and it is only because of you that we have been able to achieve such extraordinary results. We’ve been called “the closest thing to a mini-Met” in New York.

But times are tough and our contributed income since the crisis of 2008 has been reduced by half.

Over the next six months we are going to explore every possible avenue of support available to us. I realize you are being asked to contribute to excellent causes every day, but Dicapo, which has been a major part of the New York cultural scene, is worth saving. We’ve brought countless evenings of outstanding performances to the public and fostered the careers of hundreds of singers. We now urgently need your help and understanding to raise funds.

Across America major corporate sponsors and donors are bailing out opera companies, orchestras, and dance companies. Dicapo never attracted such major individual donors and corporate sponsors, but instead have relied on each of you. We need to build our fund dollar by dollar.

Your contribution is urgently needed.

If we can pay off the many people who have worked hard and in good faith to keep Dicapo going, then we will be able to build up a fund to plan the 2013-14 season. We are seeking producing partners and looking at several income-producing projects as well. In addition, we will keep our education program going during the hiatus and we will continue to present our popular (and modestly lucrative) Opera For Kids series. The course Dicapo will be navigating for the next six months is intended to stave off a bankruptcy filing which, we believe, would result in little or no distribution to creditors and would almost certainly mean the end of Dicapo. I thank you for your support in the past and now in advance for anything you can do to help us.

Please help.

Sincerely,

Michael Capasso, General Director

 

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