New York City Opera Creditor Seeks to Revive Company

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - 10:00 AM

David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center (Flickr/marianabigail)

Nine months after New York City Opera filed for bankruptcy and canceled its season, the company's board says that it has received five proposals to restart the shuttered organization. But in a court filing on Monday, one creditor and potential buyer said the board is "stuck in neutral" and called for an independent trustee to be put in charge of the process.

Reuters reports that Gene Kaufman, an architect, made an undisclosed offer six months ago to buy the "People's Opera" and revive the venerable institution. The opera's board responded by requesting a three-month extension of a so-called exclusivity period for determining its future. A hearing is now scheduled for July 16.

Kaufman argues that the longer the opera is shuttered, the harder it will be for it to restart its operations. A company lawyer has said that it is not unusual for creditors to request multiple extensions of time and said the board is dealing with a number of complicated legal issues.

Meanwhile, the City Opera Orchestra continues to give concerts as a standalone entity. According to Gail Kruvand, its assistant principal bassist, the orchestra is scheduled to perform a series of charity concerts in Japan this fall under the direction of Atushi Yamada, a former assistant conductor. Yamada led City Opera on a tour of Japan in 2005; currently he presents concerts as part of Hand in Hand, a charity devoted to tsunami recovery efforts.

Wrangling over City Opera's bankruptcy reorganization is unlikely to end soon. In March, reported that the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the State University of New York at Purchase and Dicapo Opera Theater were all vying for City Opera's assets and an endowment, valued at roughly $4 million. Their names have not been mentioned in the current go-around. One source told WQXR that only one or two suitors' proposals have been met with much serious consideration.

City Opera filed for bankruptcy in October after its $7 million fund-raising appeal fell short.


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Comments [4]

I agree with Mr. Cohen...NYCO should return to it's roots. More people need to be exposed to this beautiful art form. While we have the glorious Met, and one can now see the shows simulcast at far more affordable prices...seeing an opera live is an experience that should be enjoyed by everyone. I too hope that one of the more well heeled citizens in the city will become financially involved - and allow the NYCO to come back - perhaps significantly lighter in terms of production costs (scenery, well known talent) but still providing that wonderful music, the singing...all those ingredients that speak to an opera lover's soul.

Jul. 11 2014 06:36 AM
Mark Koppel from Manhattam

Surely, in this city of billionaires, one person ca spare one billion and put City Opera over the top.

Bloomberg Opera? Soros Opera? Oligarch Opera?

Jul. 10 2014 10:11 PM
Robert P. Cohen from Port Washington, N.Y.

City Opera can only be saved and should only be saved if it were to recreate itself in the spirit it was founded by Mayor LaGuardia. Opera done on a tight,tight budget in an old low rent hall with rented costumes, sets and props for the purpose of bringing popular, classic opera to the working class citizens of this city at a price they can afford. No more ambitious opera managers from Europe with their own avant-guard agenda. No big stars but young talented and energetic talented artists who come to this city to find a way up. No programs that appeal to a select elitest crowd but programs that everyone can enjoy, young and old, men and women, working class, immigrants as well as the high brows. That's what City Opera was, what it should be and what it can be.

Jul. 10 2014 04:01 PM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

The rebirth of NYCO is something hoped for by the New York opera community.This new existence should be artistically and financially sound,not just some purchase by a businessman.As written elsewhere on these pages,a proper renaissance would be the ultimate tribute to Julius Rudel.

Jul. 08 2014 02:42 PM

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Operavore is WQXR's digital 24/7 audio stream and devoted to Opera. The Operavore blog features breaking news, expert commentary and reviews by writers Fred Plotkin, David Patrick Stearns, Amanda Angel and others. The music stream features a continuous, carefully programmed mix of classic and contemporary opera recordings.

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