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WQXR Features

Impassioned Pleas Make the Case for Saving New York City Opera

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A growing chorus of industry experts and influential musicians is speaking up about the current travails of New York City Opera.

The company’s plans to move out of Lincoln Center for undetermined locations in New York City next season comes as it struggles to close a $5 million deficit, a shrinking endowment and declining ticket sales.

The conductor Julius Rudel, who made his debut at City Opera in 1944, and served as its general director from 1957-1979, wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times arguing against leaving of Lincoln Center. Among his main points: "The location has become a scapegoat for the hardships of a company that has suffered from inconsistent leadership by its board and a failure to engage in the smart programming and strategic planning that companies need to survive in hard times.”

In MusicalAmerica.com, George Loomis, a prominent music journalist, publishes an open letter to Michael Bloomberg in which he pleads for mayoral intervention.

Noting that it was Mayor Fiorello La Guardia who played a key role in creating the company, Loomis asks for Bloomberg’s help in identifying potential new donors, brokering a leadership transition, and getting Lincoln Center to play a larger role in saving the company.

“New York’s artistic reputation is at stake,” Loomis writes. “For the good of the city, I urge you to follow Major La Guardia’s model of active involvement.”

Finally, the opera critic Manuela Hoelterhoff writes a column in Bloomberg News in which she shares her favorite memories of City Opera. She closes by arguing that Joseph Volpe, the ex-general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, should be enlisted in the cause. "Volpe, as I recall, actually offered to help NYCO not so long ago, only to be turned down. Now is a good time to step forward."

What do you think of these columns? What's needed next for City Opera? Please share your thoughts below: