Theatre & Opera Magazine

The Last Stand (?) of the City Opera Orchestra

Posted on the 30 June 2011 by Superconductor @ppelkonen
With City Opera Mum on Season, Ensemble Protests.
Protests by members of the New York City Opera orchestra continued today, with a protest and impromptu concert by members of the opera company's orchestra on the shiny new steps of Lincoln Center Plaza.

The Last Stand (?) of the City Opera Orchestra

The City Opera's latest union negotiating tool.

This is the latest development in a long saga that started in April when the City Opera announced that they would be leaving 20 Lincoln Center for the 2011-2012 season. The company has been resident in that hall since the opening of Lincoln Center in 1966.
The musicians, led by a five-piece brass band playing excerpts from great operas, are protesting the company's decision to vacate their longstanding home at the former New York State Theater, and perform a severely truncated "wildcat" season of just five (unnanounced) operas at various (unnanounced) locations around New York City.

Watch the City Opera Orchestra play the prelude to Carmen.

This non-schedule of non-repertory in non-theaters has proved a challenge for this once-solvent company. City Opera is currently in the middle of a "Chairman's Challenge" fund-raising drive so they can actually have a season next year. Of course, with nothing to sell, it may be tough for the company's doughty phone bank workers to raise money of any kind, especially in a tough economy mired in the midst of a recession.

The Last Stand (?) of the City Opera Orchestra

And the musicians' equivalent.

At a recent meeting with management, the musician's union and the union that represents singers and choristers who perform at City Opera staged a vote of "no confidence" in the leadership of City Opera GM George Steel. Despite the company's bankrupt state, Mr. Steel pulls down an annual salary of over $400,000.
Mr. Steel's two year administration has been rocked by controversial programming decisions. Despite some fiscal and critical success two years ago, the 2010-2011 season was a recipe for disaster. Obscure operas by Richard Strauss and Leonard Bernstein vied for space with experimental monodramas and a new work by Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz. This last, Seánce on a Wet Afternoon tanked with critics and failed to attract popular interest, possibly due to a murky, confusing marketing campaign that alienated opera lovers without drawing a new audience.
In other news, City Opera board member and acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle has announced her decision to resign from the City Opera board. You can read her letter (dated June 23) here.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt

    What Have Done Sarah Schmidt

    Historical Fiction4*s Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. Read more

    11 hours, 4 minutes ago by   Cleopatralovesbooks
  • Hubby and I Tested Out The 2017 Toyota RAV4 !!!

    Hubby Tested 2017 Toyota RAV4

    Hi Huneybees,Hubby and I love going out for rides and recently we had the Toyota Rav4 Premium 2.0 to join us. I've always been a fan of the RAV4 series for its... Read more

    11 hours, 7 minutes ago by   Huney_84
  • Concert Review: The Price of Reinvention

    Concert Review: Price Reinvention

    Soprano Natalie Dessay returns to Carnegie Hall. by Paul J. Pelkonen Natalie Dessay. Photo © Sony Classical. Natalie Dessay is no stranger to adversity. Read more

    11 hours, 39 minutes ago by   Superconductor
  • Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Capers

    Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes Capers

    There are normally only two of us eating in this house and so I normally try to cut recipes in half for us, or create dishes which are simple and make just... Read more

    13 hours, 7 minutes ago by   Mariealicerayner
  • AMPM Cafe Rajouri Garden Where Shakes Shake You More Than Music

    AMPM Cafe Rajouri Garden Where Shakes Shake More Than Music

    Well, there are a lot of winning factors that AMPM Cafe Bar has to gain your presence frequently. Though its rooftop fourth floor and fifth floor are silent... Read more

    14 hours, 9 minutes ago by   Jaideep Khanduja
  • FFS Friday - Gone

    This week Tiger has actually done a few things around the house and he's so proud of himself. FFS. It's not anything amazing, just things that he should be doin... Read more

    14 hours, 38 minutes ago by   Glossqueen
  • The Hagar-Sarah Conundrum (Yet Another Question for the UUA Presidential...

    Susan. Alison. Jeanne. I've been trying to find a way to ask this question and not sound like an angry black woman. I have figured out in the process that I... Read more

    14 hours, 48 minutes ago by   Eastofmidnight