IT'S OVER: New York City Opera set to file for bankruptcy

Company misses twin September fundraising goals. Also: Minnesota Orchestra maestro resigns. Photo: AP/BAM

NEW YORK, October 1, 2013 — AP reports that the New York City Opera’s goal to raise $1 million from online contributions on has failed. Ditto the company’s attempt to raise $7 million by midnight, September 30. Since both efforts have fallen far short of expectations, the venerable opera company is expected to file for bankruptcy later this week.

The dual shortfalls, while expected by many, were something of a surprise, with final numbers running considerably behind more optimistic expectations earlier in September. Direct pledges toward City Opera’s much publicized $7 million goal totaled only $1.5 million as of last Thursday.

Kickstarter pledges only added up to $301,019 from 2,108 donors. According to a notice on that website early Tuesday, “funding for this project was canceled by the project creator.”

City Opera, which began performances back in 1944, said last week it intended to file for bankruptcy and cancel the remainder of its 2013-14 season should it fail to achieve its fundraising goals by September 30.

That date has come and gone. More than likely, in sports parlance, “the fat lady has sung,” except that her name was Anna Nicole, the tragic heroine of the company’s final opera and not Wagner’s Brünnhilde.

The company’s epilogue will likely be written this week.

SEE RELATED: New York City Opera: Finally RIP?


In unrelated but equally unfortunate news, the beleaguered Minnesota Orchestra, based in Minneapolis, has lost the services of the organization’s talented music director, Osmo Vänskä. He announced his resignation today due to the seemingly insoluble impasse between management and the orchestra musicians’ union.

Mr. Vänskä made good on his pledge to exit the organization if the orchestra’s already prolonged strike were not resolved by September 30.

It now appears that the current Minnesota Orchestra season is in jeopardy as are the ensemble’s scheduled November 2 and 3 guest appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall. 

SEE RELATED: Washington National Opera opens season with ‘Tristan and Isolde’

    —AP contributed to this report

Pictured above, this Sept. 15, 2013 image released by the Booklyn Academy of Music shows, foreground from left, Sarah Coomes, Robert Brubaker and Sarah Joy Miller in a Scene from “Anna Nicole” composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP text and photo/BAM, Stephanie Berger) With its last performance just concluded, it seems increasingly likely that this contemporary opera will prove to have been the final production in the history of this storied opera company.


Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business

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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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