New York City Opera to File for Bankruptcy

After a failed attempt to raise $1 million (out of $7 million needed to continue operations) on a Kickstarter Campaign, the New York City Opera is closing its doors.

A total of $301,019 was raised by 2,108 fans of the opera, but was not enough.

The next move for the opera is to begin filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, forcing the cancellation of the season’s remaining shows.

7 Responses

  1. hippydog

    Anyone have more information on this..?
    It seems kinda sad that amanda palmer can get more money then the new york city opera..
    I would like to believe that maybe they somehow did it wrong? (as i’m sure there is some skill or “connected” fan base needed)
    or maybe an online fundraiser is simply not the best way to connect with fans of opera? LOL

  2. wallow-T

    One commenter elsewhere pointed out that large-dollar Kickstarter projects may require a nationwide or international base of support. The benefits of the New York City Opera are pretty much limited to the New York City area.
    Specific to NYCO: NYCO has been in a sharp downward spiral for about a decade. I don’t have time to look up the dates, but they lost their long-time home in Lincoln Center for an entire season in the 2000s because the theater was undergoing extensive renovations. They hired a very expensive artistic director (Gerard Mortier) who had very expensive plans, and who quit when he found how restricted his budget was. They abandoned Lincoln Center for good to save money, and had a gypsy-like existence for a season or two. In all of the above events, NYCO burned through their endowment to cover the collapse in income.
    I’m not an insider: the NYCO death spiral has been well covered in the public press, and potential donors may have been disinclined to Kickstart money into what they saw as a doomed cause.
    Opera in general: my experience is that the median age of the opera audience is about 70. Is Kickstarted a good way to raise money from people who are between 50 and 90? 🙂 My prediction is that opera in the USA has about 10 years left before so much of the audience has passed away that there will be no financial way to continue.

  3. 1890s Kinda Guy

    Oh, poppycock!
    Why I was just at the ribald sundry Opera Buffa of the Broadway Co. (dare I admit!) with gentleman of the old cavalry and all sorts of sundry, and they mentioned a new sort of opera for all of New York Grand! They will call it… the New York City Opera, opening it with fireworks on the grandest stage this side of the Mississippi!
    There will be a band to commemorate, even a bullhorn for all to hear the announcement. Why I here Sir Garfield de Grasse himself will be among the mass of folk attending!
    So, as you see, this erroneous report that portends the bankruptcy of the most storied opera company of the coming 20th century cannot bear a lick of truth!
    I resign to my chambers to review other journals to further remand this dastard yellow copy of a report!

    • wallow-T

      Cute! 🙂 But actually, it is the surviving Metropolitan Opera whose roots are in the late 1800s.
      New York City Opera was founded in 1943, and it is a product of that mid-20th century view that high culture should be of interest to, and available to, a broad middle-class public. NYCO’s handle was “The People’s Opera,” as opposed to the Met, which was generally targeted at the wealthy. (The Met was founded by the nouveau riche of industrialism, who couldn’t buy spaces at the Academy of Music, which was the 1800’s opera company for those with Really Old Money.)
      (Idle thought: did the Metropolitan Opera’s “HD Live” program of operas in movie theaters, at about $20 a ticket, contribute to the NYCO’s problems? The Met’s movie program is starting its seventh year.)
      Greg Sandow has written lots on this, about the broad appeal of classical music in the middle 20th century and how the audience aged and classical music ceased to be relevant.


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