New York City Opera Musicians to Reunite for Anniversary Concert

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 03:01 PM

The renovated auditorium at City Center The renovated auditorium at City Center (Stephen Nessen/WQXR)

Three months after New York City Opera filed for bankruptcy and shut its doors, the company's musicians on Wednesday announced a concert they will produce and play on February 21 at City Center.

The reunion concert is timed to land on the 70th anniversary of New York City Opera’s first performance, February 21, 1944, which featured Puccini’s Tosca at City Center.

The event will feature a number of past singers with the company including Lauren Flanigan, Mark Delavan, Joélle Harvey, Ryan MacPherson, Sidney Outlaw and Jennifer Rivera, as well as a 60-member New York City Opera Orchestra, conducted by former music director George Manahan.

“This was driven by the company members to celebrate the New York City Opera,” said Gail Kruvand, a longtime City Opera double bassist who helped to organize the concert. Proceeds will go towards the New York City Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund, which is run by the Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians.

Kruvand noted that the loss of income since City Opera dissolved has had wide-ranging effects on its musicians. “It ranges from devastating for some to just an extra challenge,” she said. “Some people are really experiencing hardships. For me personally, it was 40 to 50 percent of my income. It’s not insignificant.”

City Opera filed for bankruptcy on October 3 after years of declining income and a failed fundraising effort.

The February concert will focus on repertoire that was particularly associated with City Opera during its 70-year history, including arias and scenes from The Ballad of Baby Doe, Candide, Carmen, L'etoile, Giulio Cesare, Malcolm X, Martha and Die tote Stadt.

Cori Ellison, the company's former dramaturg, has led the effort in booking singers and choosing the repertoire. Tickets are priced from $25 to $250.

When asked whether former management would be involved, Kruvand noted that "everybody’s invited," including former general manager George Steel. "He will receive a personal invitation."


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Comments [6]

Robert Puleo from New Rochelle, NY

I was honored to sing Boy Soprano roles at New York City Opera in the late 60's and early 70's in roles like Miles in their wonderful production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw and Yniould in their brilliant Pelleas et Melisande. The work I did with them has helped me grow as an artist to this day and has impacted my life. I remember this company with fondest and admiration for is innovation an high artistic level. Opera in NYC needs an opera company like this.

Feb. 17 2014 10:52 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

This concert and it's intention are all to the good and I hope a lot of money is raised. Whether it will be a tribute entirely to Auld Lang Syne or also the start of the rising of a Phoenix from ashes remains to be seen.

Feb. 11 2014 05:01 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

To give credulity to the background for my earlier comments I must affirm that I am an opera composer ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] and the director at the
Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute of Boonton, NJ. where I teach voice and
train artists in all the Wagner and Shakespeare roles. One may hear my singing
LIVE from the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium of CARNEGIE HALL, ijn four three-hour long solo
concerts by downloading, FREE, 37 out of the nearly 100 selections that I have
sung there by going to RECORDED SELECTIONS on my websites, and There are
composers whose contribution to music is solid and deserving of hearings. One
such is ARNOLD SCHOENBERG who was born in Vienna on September 13, 1874. Surely
he deserves mention, even if this occasion, this year, marks ONLY his 140th
birthday year. I will be singing the tenor music from his "DAS LIED VON DER
ERDE." I am a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor and director of the Richard
Wagner Music Drama Institute. I will sing the four song cycles that are most
often performed in their orchestral garb: Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder," Mahler's
"Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen," Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" and
Schoenberg's "Gurre-Lieder" at the New Life Expo at the Hotel Pennsylvania in
NYC on Saturday March 22nd at 6 PM. I have sung in the course of my solo
concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall concerts including programming
the Wagner and the first named Mahler song cycle.

Jan. 17 2014 05:27 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

NEW YORK and opera generally NEED an entry opera company with the financial and organizational capabilities to give experience and recognition to the young opera singer aspirants. The New York City Opera's founding general manager and principle conductor Laszlo Halasz over a period of thirty years prepared me for my opera roles, Wagner and other roles, and for my third and fourth ALL-WAGNER solo concerts in 1995 and 1998 at the main hall of Carnegie Hall. The proper leadership at the helm and in top positions of the opera company is central to its eventual success. GOOD LUCK !!!

Jan. 17 2014 08:58 AM
Brunnhilde from nyc

Reviving City Opera??? With the same administration? Board of Directors? Where? They sold all the costumes and scenery. They would have quite a time doing productions....unless they "updated" the operas in modern drag. If so, I'm afraid I wouldn't be buying tickets. I'm stubborn enough and angry enough to guarantee I wouldn't. It's shameful what happened. I think they are still hoping for a "fairy god-mother or father"!

Jan. 16 2014 11:36 PM
Robert St.Onge from Cochiti Lake,NM

Let us hope that this anniversary concert can jumpstart further thoughts of reviving the (hopefully not-quite-dead) New York City Opera. Thank you to all who worked to make this event possible. Even if I can't attend their performances, I recognize how important they are for the health of Opera in the United States. With this news and the news about the Minnesota Orchestra, it is a good day for music!!!!!!!!!

Jan. 15 2014 03:45 PM

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