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?