The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: NPR reports how City Opera — the “People’s Opera” — in New York is on the brink of bankruptcy and ruin.

September 14, 2013
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REMINDERS:  Edgewood College mezzo-soprano Kathleen Otterson (below top) performs her recital at 2:30 p.m. on SUNDAY — NOT Saturday, as The Ear mistakenly posted originally.

Here is more about her program:

I apologize for the above error and inaccuracy.

ALSO: This week’s installment of the live broadcast “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen,” on Wisconsin Public Radio from 12:30 to 2 p.m., features duo-pianists Stanislava Varshavski and Diana Shapiro  (below bottom) in a program of Igor Stravinsky‘s “The Rite of Spring” (which is marking its 100th anniversary this year) plus music by George Gershwin and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Kathleen Otterson 2

Stanislava Varshavski-Diana Shapiro

By Jacob Stockinger

The story of the dire financial predicament of City Opera (below) – – the so-called “People’s Opera” — in New York City, which reads just like an opera plot, with lots of dramatic twists and turns, and reversals of fortune.

And now everyone is anxiously awaiting to see the story’s climax -– to see whether the famous opera company meets its fundraising needs or ends up going under after it left its permanent” home at the New York State Theater (below) in LIncoln Center.

City Opera at the New York State Theater in Licoln Center

The story of City Opera has bigger local importance than some might think.

John DeMain (below, in a photo by Prasad) of the Madison Symphony Orchestra has along history with the City Opera, which included excerpts from his production of George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” there for its PBS TV celebration on “Live From Lincoln Center.”

When he was a student at the Juilliard School, DeMain was the second student to receive the Julius Rudel Award from the City Opera.

John DeMain full face by Prasad

Since then he has directed other operas at City Opera including, Puccini’s “Tosca” and Scott Joplin’s “Treemonisha.”

Here is a link to Coty Opera where you can find out about its history, its calendar of productions and its current fundraising campaign:

Anyway, nobody has done a better job than NPR of explaining the predicament that the City Opera finds itself it.

It is the so-called people’s opera that was set up as a populist and affordable alternative to the posher and more famous Metropolitan Opera. One of its biggest stars was the famed Beverly Sills (below  in f New york Times photo from the 1970s and in a YouTube video at the bottom). It recently moved from its permanent home at Lincoln Center to using different alternating venues.

beverly sills nytimes

What is the City Opera’s history? What are its financial circumstances? What is being done to save the company? Can you help?

Use this link to find out:

And then be sure to leave a COMMENT if you have an opinion about the City Opera and an experience you had with it that the rest of us should hear about.

The Ear wants to hear.

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