Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He produces the Café Concerts series and the podcast/show Conducting Business. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
New York City Opera Creditor Seeks to Revive Company
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - 10:00 AM
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, MusicalAmerica.com 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.