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Why City Opera’s begging-bowl does not ring true

Our New York operavores¬†Elizabeth Frayer and Shawn E Milnes really want to support City Opera. They really, really do. But the noises coming out of the sinking company are strange and disingenuous. They seem to be asking patrons to save them from the skids while throwing the biggest blow-out party of all time. Read what’s¬†truly going on. Click here.


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  1. If Anna Nicole’s old boyfriend were still with us, the City Opera might yet be able to raise the dollars AND throw a party. He adored her and had the bucks. I doubt the Koch Bros who now practically own the CO’s former home would fritter their money away unless it were for a tribute to them and their not-so-free free market ideology, since they would have to transport a lot of heavy crude or cut down a lot of trees and sell a lot of toilet paper to foot the bill.

    But what is this with operas about tragic and/or bathetic celebrities? How about something more inspiring (and salacious) like the life and loves of Reverend Moon, or L.Ron Hubbard? With their captive audiences (mass marriages and hypnotic rectification sessions) those would be real money makers.

    • The Koch brothers are ballet fans; they don’t really care about opera.

      In general I hate the “let Bloomberg use his billions to pay for it” refrain one often hears from kvetching New Yorkers, but he’s a huge culture fan, and I bet he really could spare a few million to help get City Opera on track. Who knows? Maybe he will. I suspect it’s a matter of whether he thinks the company is ultimately doomed.

    • “But what is this with operas about tragic and/or bathetic celebrities?” You might look at the origins of “La Traviata.”

  2. while i admit that NYCO does not seem to be doing well at all, and maybe they are using some desperate tactics, “Our New York operavores Elizabeth Frayer and Shawn E Milnes” are merely doing a disservice to the opera industry and making matters worse with their amateur tactless “reporting”.

  3. Previously, I have not enjoyed the “reviews” by this pair. Today, I say a hearty ‘Bravi’! Superb. And horribly sad. How can a once glorious company that still shows artistic merit end up this way? With just a few short years of horrid management, here we are.

    They will not raise the money, of course. $68,000 so far is an embarrassment. But it certainly fits, sadly.

    • Kenneth Conway says:

      “With just a few short years of horrid management, here we are.” It would be most interesting to learn where the individual members of NYCO’s “horrid management” team has landed. No doubt on their feet and I’m sure they’re all doing just swell, financially and career-wise.

  4. I’d suggest to anyone interested in experiencing Anna Nicole that they purchase the 2-DVD set on Opus Arte. Enjoy a nice bottle of wine and crank up the volume on your’s great fun. And here’s the big bonus: you don’t have to deal with bad and UNCOMFORTABLE seats at BAM, or all this bull from the NYCO. Shame on them…

  5. It hardly strikes me that there’s anything “not ringing true” here. The party? It’s one they are asking guests to pay over-the-odds for. It’s a fundraising exercise. So what you’re seeing is NYCO raising funds in any way they know how – Kickstarter, expensive tickets for a glam party with mediocre food and cream off the top slice of the funds (plus I imagine tapping up the sizzled guests for more donations), blah blah. Nothing to see here, I can’t see why the party is a problem.

  6. New York City Opera is an embarrassment as an organization, despite the high level of artistic work they have put on. The entire last decade – from imagining that they could fund-raise for and build their own opera house, to running operating deficits nearly every year, to cancelling a season and forgetting to account for the lost ticket revenue in their budget, to raiding a large endowment down to practically nothing, to losing a new artistic director the moment he looked at the books, to abruptly discovering they needed $7m in three weeks just to stay afloat and the absurdity of trying to fix it with a Kickstarter campaign – has been a pathetic comedy of errors. We must give up nostalgia for the days of Ballad of Baby Doe and let them die so that new operatic organizations can take their place.

  7. Sanford Rothenberg says:

    It would seem that history is repeating itself with NYCO and its continuing financial version of the “Perils of Pauline”.Obviously,the combination of fiscal mismanagement,squandered endowment funds,and “soft” pledges which were not paid to the company have brought NYCO once again to the precipice.

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