Organization Fails To Raise Necessary Funds

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City Opera said the company will file for bankruptcy protection and wind down operations after failing to raise enough money to stage the rest of its season.

“It’s very sad, but I don’t see a way to revive the company,” general manager and artistic director George Steel told 1010 WINS. “Most of the staff have gone. Today is the first day of no work, and by the end of the week almost 100 percent of the staff will be gone, and we’re taking steps to file for bankruptcy and to wrap up the affairs of the company.”

The company announced earlier in September that it needed $7 million by the end of the month.

It hoped to raise $1 million on but a total of $301,019 from 2,108 donors was pledged on the website.

“There are thousands of musicians and singers and artists and designers and directors who make New York City Opera their artistic home and for all of those folks the world will look bleaker,” Steel said.

The organization has suffered from financial troubles for some years. In 2011, the company elected to move out of Lincoln Center after 45 years there, cut its staff, and scale back its performance schedule due to a dwindling endowment, a multimillion-dollar deficit, and contentious negotiations with its union staff.

Having presented 12 to 16 operas with a peak of about 130 performances in a season, the company has shrunk to four stagings and 16 performances in each of the past two seasons. Its endowment has dwindled from $48 million in 2008 to $5.07 million at the end of June 2012, according to tax records, and its staff has been pared to 25.

The New York City Opera is revered as a pillar of American culture that has delivered daring new productions and built the careers of such stars as Placido Domingo and Beverly Sills.

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