Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Current State of NYCO

A friend forwards email sent by George Steele to NYCO's mailing list, and it's hard to see any chance of the organization pulling out of the current spin and surviving to stage opera:

Dear Friend,

I am writing to bring you, a supporter of New York City Opera, up to date on our negotiations with the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Local 802 American Federation of Musicians--the two unions that represent the artistic heart of our organization: the principal singers, the New York City Opera Orchestra and New York City Opera Chorus, along with our wonderful dramatic and musical staff.

As you may have read, on Saturday evening, after months of good-faith negotiations with representatives from the two unions, both rejected the Company's most recent offer. Because the unions have pledged to strike our performances, we simply cannot afford to pay for rehearsals until we have an agreement.

We are hopeful the process will move forward over the coming days and that we will together find a resolution to the tough questions that face all of us.

I look forward to keeping you apprised of developments as they occur in the days ahead. Meanwhile, I thank you--NYC Opera's loyal friends and supporters--for your continued support and understanding.

With best wishes and deepest gratitude,

George Steel
General Manager and Artistic Director
New York City Opera


Henry Holland said...

*sigh* I've had some great nights at the State Theater, especially an incredible Die Tote Stadt in the famous Corsaro production, with JH Murray just amazing as Paul. I also heard the original verion of Madama Butterfly and I can see why it was a famous failure at its premiere; what was Puccini thinking giving the drunken uncle such a big part?

It seems clear to me that Steel has no idea what he's doing. He has no previous experience running an opera company; they couldn't get rid of him fast enough in Dallas and what was funny was that the people there didn't even bother to hide their disdain for him.

So, if he gets the boot, then what? Who would want the job? Gerard Mortier's contract in Madrid isn't up for a few years. :-)

Besides, what form would a "new NYCO" take? The State Theater is the NYC Ballet's home, they've always been the primary tenant. Nobody is going to build a space for them and Keene and Kellogg couldn't find an alternative.

So, if the company survives and Steel goes, split seasons again (fall and spring)? The mix of rep from the Top 40, rarities from the 17th/19th century, 20th century/modern? Will they do musicals again?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Those are all excellent questions. I agree with you - Steel was a terrible choice given his lack of opera and large-organization experience. And now they are so deeply in a financial hole that I cannot imagine them recovering.

They might be able to succeed if they had a real artistic genius in charge and imitated Long Beach Opera - but that would not be the NYCO of yore.