...Gerard Mortier's departure from NYCO even before his arrival is a catastrophe for the company. They're out of the New York State Theater while it's being renovated. Their financial situation is precarious, because while their expenses are low at the moment, so is their income. (It's hard to do fundraising when you're not staging anything.) They've laid off a few employees and have had some required vacation days for the remaining staff members.
Mortier was promised a big budget - $68 million - and among the reasons he left is that NYCO could only get him about $35 million of that. Of course, as a friend points out, Europeans who take over American opera companies - and Americans who've worked only in Europe, like Pamela Rosenberg - are often unaware of or uncomfortable with the fundraising requirements that come with the job. We don't know whether Mortier would have succeeded at this.
He had ambitious plans for next season, including the NYC premiere of Saint Francois d'Assis and works by Debussy, Janacek, Stravinsky, Britten, Glass, Adams, and others. Now the Board of Directors doesn't know who will be running the company, and it's hard to imagine anyone coming in at this point and putting on the planned season.
Joshua Kosman called this situation back in May, 2007. A sad tip 'o the hat to him today.