January 13, 2016

NYCO-Renaissance: A Wandering Minstrel

The New York City Opera emerged from bankruptcy court yesterday as noted by the New York Times, which reported judge Sean Lane's approval of a plan by hedge fund manager Roy Niederhoffer and his chosen general director Micheal Capasso to reconstitute a leading company that had floundered on the rocks of bad management, left its home at Lincoln Center, lost its subscribers, sold off its sets and costumes, and watched its history drown in hurricane Sandy.

Social media reports indicate that the orchestra is thrilled to be working again, which it will do on January 20 in an NYCO-Renaissance performance of Tosca at a theater in the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle. As of this writing, however, the newly appointed company directors have yet to hammer out an agreement with members of The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), which represents singers, stage managers, dancers, and stage directors. Matters are further complicated by the recent death of AGMA's executive director Alan Gordon on New Year's day.

Long-time readers of VoiceTalk will know that this blogger sang at NYCO for twenty-three seasons, that is, until the company's untimely demise in 2011. And while he wishes the new company success, he also fears for its long-term viability since—assuming an agreement with AGMA can be reached—current plans have the company wandering the streets of New York City.

The director would be Michael Capasso, the former head of Dicapo Opera Theater, which closed in 2013 after 33 years after it too went broke. While the revamped City Opera hopes to perform often at Lincoln Center, it sees itself as a wandering minstrel, playing in “novel and unconventional” venues around town, such as the Culture Shed under construction at Hudson Yards.  —City Opera's new revival will be its own, Crain's New York Business, January 11, 2016. 

New York City Opera needs a home to survive and thrive. Can new management, like any good parent, provide that? Only time will tell.  

Photo Credit: NYCO's former home at Lincoln Center 


  1. Hello. I am trying to find information about a NYCO production of Floyd's Susannah in the early 1970's. I have a test pressing done by Windsor Records, Inc., which is a live recording of the complete opera. I'm trying to find out at least who the principals were for this production. Any chance you might have some information on this??? Thank you very much, Helen

    1. Thank you for your message. I do not have any information on your concern, but know there was a book about NYCO which may have this information that was written by Martin Sokol: "New York City Opera: An American Adventure" (1981). It catalogues performances from 1944-1981. If not there, I would conduct research at the Performing Arts Library—New York Public Library—at Lincoln Center, NYC. I'd be curious to find out who made the recording too! Daniel


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