time to change the way we view music and the arts

In True Opera Plot Fashion…

…betrayal, tragedy and “death” are afoot. *insert evil laugh here*

For today’s post, a story in three parts:

(Prologue: The backstory)

There were plenty of news stories, board officials and organization sagas I either was asked to follow or discovered on my own, thanks to tons of recommended reading from my professors at NYU. Of everything that crossed my desk for browsing, the easiest for me to recall and reference would have to be the endeavors of The New York City Opera. NYCO was one of the first companies to come up in the New York Times, right around the time when I was preparing for my first semester’s work with Professor Brann Wry in my “Environment of Performing Arts Administration” course.

(Act I: So we see that NYCO is no stranger to experiencing awkward endings to dysfunctional relationships… or quick to rebound.)

City Opera has been through lots of deals, deal breakers, dropped names and dropped contracts. Back in 2007 and 2008, there was all kinds of uncertainty floating about with the appointment of George Mortier, (the then Director of the Paris National Opera,) because of the essentially “long distance relationship” Mortier was conducting while supposedly getting ready to take on the New York based management position. That long story short, it didn’t work out and Mortier pulled the plug on his offer before being officially instated.

In scrambling to find a replacement for the defaulting Mortier, George Steel, “the former executive director of Columbia University’s Miller Theater” snagged the new appointment in 2009 and heads NYCO today. The reputable organization has long shared space with its classical counterpart, The Metropolitan Opera,
for over 30 years, with its move from the presenting venue, New York City Center in 1966.

(Act: II: And here we see NYCO now acting as “the dumper” instead of being dumped… hmm)

For relationship knowledge failure display #2, NYCO has announced its imminent and upcoming departure from Lincoln Center. With other news sources whispering thoughts of any reasoning from, “An inept board of directors, [to] the loss of key consultants, [and] no money,” this new development is hardly one that NYCO seems fully prepared for, let alone the numerous patrons, opera colleagues, fans, and potentially lost, future audience members either. Then, with the New York Times comparing the announcement to a “near death knell,” prompting “sounds of lamentation,” the artistically dramatic description almost brings humor to the situation –except for the fact that people actually feel that way.

(Act III: The last unused act in ineffective relationship maintenance -NYCO is looking to get back with its ex because it needs a place to go.)

Just to put the metaphorical icing on top of the cake… or perhaps I should be combining two expressions and saying icing on top of the pie, (humble pie that is,) NYCO is considering City Center as one of its potential prospects for a “new” permanent home; or at least somewhere NYCO might use for occasional showings among various venues around the city, according to the in-progress plans of George Steel for the organization’s near future.

NYCO seems to have gone through every relationship motion and come full circle. Given everything that has already happened, one has to wonder what comes next for a company that is going forward so tied down by monetary and labor deficiencies. Is the drama and tension just reaching the climax? Or is this going to be, as former NYCO conductor/director, Julius Rudel, puts it, “in essence… the end of the New York City Opera as we know it and love it[?]”
Perhaps the plot will thicken.

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