Time To Rethink Arts Funding In The USA As NYCO Files For Bankruptcy?

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 2 October 2013 | 4:19:00 am

On 12 September, 70 year old New York City Opera stated that it needed $12 million to survive as a company and began a desperate scramble to raise this amount - even resorting to Kickstarter. However, spokeswoman Risa Heller has announced today that the company was only able to raise a total of $2.3, a figure clearly well short of that needed. She went on to say, "Today, the board and management will begin the necessary financial and operational steps to wind down the company, including initiating the Chapter 11 process."

The major of New York, Michael Bloomberg - who lobbied Goldman Sachs to establish its headquarters across from Ground Zero by promising $1.65 billion in tax breaks and in 2006 stated that tax cuts could be easily justified by looking at the success of Wall Street - declined to intervene stating, "The business model doesn't seem to be working,"

Bloomberg is of course also founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies Foundation, which, amongst many other philanthropic projects, helps fund the METs Live in HD broadcasts, of whose support Peter Gleb has said, "“Thanks to Bloomberg’s enlightened support of our groundbreaking Live in HD series, opera lovers in 54 countries on six continents get to enjoy the Met season in their local movie theaters. Bloomberg’s belief in making art accessible is a perfect match for the Met’s initiatives to democratize opera.”

Bloomberg's estimation of NYCO's poor business model was supported today by Tino Gagliardi, president of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians. In an interview with AP, he stated, "NYCO management's reckless decisions to move the New York City Opera out of its newly renovated home at Lincoln Center, slash the season schedule and abandon an accessible repertoire have predictably resulted in financial disaster for the company," He continued. "Due to egregious mismanagement and a paucity of vision, instead of reaping the benefits of a strengthening economy, this most storied of cultural institutions now lies in ruin."

Properly, state, funded, opera houses around the world are keeping a very low profile.