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City Opera Returns, Ready for a Comeback

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New York's City Opera is making its homecoming tonight.

As John Schaefer points out, City Opera had a very difficult off-season. The company was essentially homeless for a full season as its theater underwent renovations. Its director left abruptly and, like all not-for-profits, the opera was hurt by the economic crisis. A challenging mix for a company trying to compete with the Met.

But, now it's back in the newly renovated (and renamed) David H. Koch Theater, which has been getting its own buzz for a dramatic art installation in the lobby by E.V. Day. And Schaefer says that City Opera's new artistic director, George Steel, and his staff have the company poised for a comeback.

They’ve put together a typically interesting, offbeat, and surprising season — they even had to add a fifth performance of Hugo Weisgall’s “Esther,” a very unexpected and pleasant surprise. I think this shows that City Opera can play in the big leagues, even in a city that already has the premiere big league team.

The season gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. with a benefit concert, "American Voices," that will include Lauren Flanigan, Marc Kudisch, Samuel Ramey, the New York City Ballet and Rufus Wainwright.

Read Schaefer's take on the return of city opera here. He had Robin Pogrebin of The New York Times and James Jordan, author of the opera blog Parterre Box on Soundcheck this afternoon on 93.9 FM.