New York City Opera Musicians to Reunite for Anniversary Concert

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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."