In an expected move, New York City Opera announced on Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal that it is auctioning off its sets and costumes. Daniel J.Wakin also reported on the story for the New York Times. Of course, those who have followed the company for many years will remember Beverly Sills raising funds for sets and costumes when there was a fire at the warehouse. Her company, which was located at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, was a repertory house, so it was in NYCO's interest to replace what had been destroyed. Current management, however, is going in a completely different direction with 16 performances each year instead of the previous 150. Those interested in an accounting of NYCO's history can find it here.
New York City Opera to Hold Online Auction By DANIEL J. WAKIN
New York City Opera, seeking to shed decades’ worth of old sets, costumes and props, has decided to auction off most of the material next month, the company’s general manager and artistic director, George Steel, said on Wednesday. An online auction will begin in mid-January and run through Jan. 24.
About 90 percent of the contents of its New Jersey warehouse will be put up for auction, with the company saving generic props and costume items: weaponry, top hats and shoes, for example. Several dozen historic costumes, some associated with the former City Opera diva Beverly Sills, will also remain with the company, Mr. Steel said. The warehouse costs more than $500,000 a year to rent, he said. “It costs us way more to store that stuff than we save by using it,” he explained.
Mr. Steel said there was no way to estimate how much could be earned by the auction, but he added that some 10 other opera companies had expressed interest. A spokeswoman said a “couple of thousand” lots would be put up for auction, and the sale would include 60 complete sets and 38 shows’ worth of costumes. Bidders will be allowed to visit the warehouse to preview the items. The auction was reported on Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal.
Sixty years of history. Gone. Done. Over.