New York Grand Opera Company Cancels Central Park Season, Citing Weather

Friday, May 31, 2013 - 03:05 PM

New York Grand Opera Company plays 'La Boheme' at the Naumberg Bandshell in 2011 New York Grand Opera Company plays 'La Boheme' at the Naumberg Bandshell in 2011 (Flickr/asterix611)

The New York Grand Opera Company has scrapped its two summer opera performances at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, citing an increasingly familiar menace: bad weather.

In a message on the company’s website, NYGO founder and conductor Vincent La Selva characterized this as a preemptive move. “As you may remember, we had to cancel a number of performances in recent summers due to heavy rainstorms,” La Selva wrote. “For this reason I have decided to plan indoor performances and will not present a season in Central Park this summer.”

The decision came just before the season was to have opened on Wednesday with Verdi’s Aida, followed by Un Ballo en Maschera on July 17. This would have been the company’s 40th straight year in Central Park, during which time it has shuttled from the Bandshell to Central Park Summerstage and back again.

The company plans to look for an indoor venue, according to its website.

La Selva told the New York Times on Friday that he has lost an average of one performance a year due to bad weather, with each cancellation costing between $75,000 and $80,000 in permits, staging and musician fees. He added that he’s obligated to pay musicians their full fee unless he gives them about 48 hours notice.

In recent years, the company has presented two summer productions in the park, down from five during its early years, when it also toured the city’s boroughs and to Long Island and New Jersey. From 1994 to 2001, it staged all 28 Verdi operas in chronological order.

In a 2002 appearance on WNYC’s Soundcheck, La Selva noted that the Verdi cycle took a year longer than anticipated due to weather cancellations.

Weigh in: what do you think of the weather and its impact on summer concert-going?

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Comments [3]

NYer from NYC

Outdoor concerts are uncomfortable, amplified, and acoustically dismal.

Jun. 02 2013 11:02 PM
CastaDiva from Manhattan

Nothing can compare to an outdoor performance. Mr La Selva's opera productions, enjoyable in themselves, were further enhanced by the splendid setting, with the Park's trees providing scenery, the setting sun it's own natural lighting effects, and the twittering birds that were gradually silent as night fell. These outdoor performances were a great joy to all who attended, whether opera buffs, novices or the merely curious, and will be sorely missed. Thank you, Maestro,for those magical evenings.

Jun. 01 2013 08:15 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Bponton, NJ

MAESTRO VINCENT LA SELVA has single-handed entertained and enlightened tens of thousands of attendees at his concerts with his New York Grand Opera Company. The city should find him an appropriate indoor venue without charge to him for his long standing tourist as well as city dweller Pied Piper drawing in of opera and classical and pop patrons eager for a good and memorable time in the Big Apple. Kudos to Maestro LA SELVA !!!

May. 31 2013 05:35 PM

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