It's so sad to see this stuff happening to musical arts programs around the nation. Just recently the Philadelphia Orchestra had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing that they'd be out of money by June. Now, the NYC Opera has a huge deficit looming, and contracts to renegotiate, and if something drastic and creative isn't done soon — there will be no more NYC Opera.
It wouldn't mean the end of all opera in the city, though, as the Met is it's own separate entity, proving profitable again and again. The NYC Opera was created years after the Met and boasted lower ticket prices as "the People's Opera."
Unfortunately, despite having critically acclaimed seasons, ticket sales are slumping:
The company's endowment has dwindled from $55 million to $9 million, according to audits obtained by the AP. And City Opera has put off announcing its 2011-2012 season as it faces a projected deficit of $5 million. The board chairman last month personally contributed an emergency $2.5 million toward plugging the deficit, company officials said.
In the latest tax return, for the year ending June 2009, the company posted a $9.5 million operating deficit, with net assets tumbling to about $17 million from $58 million in 2007. The 2010 return has yet to be filed.
It's so tragic to see this happen. The union has said to be willing to find new and creative ways to lower the budget without hurting the salaries of those involved, because they barely make enough money where having two jobs let them survive.
But, it has been said that they "will have to decide whether to bargain over reduced employment or, instead, strike and drive City Opera out of existence."
Let's hope that doesn't happen. We hope the meeting tonight is productive and someone comes up with a solution!
[Image via AP Images.]