Another update: I got this news tonight driving back from a gig, and I felt as if the radio announcer had just said that my favorite aunt is dying. Can you have an opera company without an opera house? I sure hope so, and that this awkward transition (it’s been a few years now hasn’t it?) will finally result in good news for NYCO, which desperately deserves it. – ASK
So this is how New York City Opera will save itself. Stories here in the NYT and WSJ. No hint that Steel will leave, or that his artistic vision has been rejected. But NYCO is leaving Lincoln Center and downsizing. This must be a bitter pill to swallow after the $107 million in renovations spent for NYCO’s benefit just a few years back.
All the musicians have been turned into freelancers, though AGMA chief Alan Gordon is still making tough talk about a guarantee of a 26-week season. Hope he’s not holding his breath, because the company is now planning a season of three full-scale operas, two medium-size productions, and three concerts. No more specifics, though in an April interview Steel mentioned Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna.
No word either on where NYCO will land, though they say that they’re planning on several venues, including one fit for full-scale operas. Like what? City Center? SymphonySpace? Some university venue like NYU’s Skirball Center? NYCO wasn’t paying rent at Lincoln Center, but it did pay for security and operations. Hard to believe that renting an entirely new space is going to cost less than that, but then again, we don’t have the numbers. NYCO could be bluffing for a better deal from Lincoln Center (which has declined comment). But for now, it appears that this sign is due for a makeover: