New York City Opera to Leave Lincoln Center

In an effort to keep its doors open, the cash-strapped New York City Opera has announced that it will move out of Lincoln Center, cut its staff, and scale back next season's performance schedule, the Associated Press reports.

While the move is expected to reduce the company's operating expenses, it won't do much to revive flagging ticket sales, which some observers blame on the organization's choice of material. Although the company has long been recognized as a pillar of American culture, an artistic innovator, and a launching pad for the likes of Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo, and Renee Fleming, it has struggled financially. Indeed, in recent years its endowment has fallen precipitously in value, from a high of $55 million to $9 million, while its projected budget deficit has ballooned to $5 million. Last month, its board chair personally donated $2.5 million to help close the budget shortfall.

George Steel, the opera's general manager and artistic director, said an announcement about the company's new home would be made in a few weeks. "This is certainly a serious transition for the opera...but the thing that makes me optimistic is that I can see a balanced budget model for the company that will provide a foundation for sustainable growth. [While the new budget is] significantly smaller than what [we] currently hav[e] will permit us a tremendous reduction in fixed costs, which means we can put more money on the stage."

Nekesa Mumbi Moody. "NYC Opera Votes to Leave Lincoln Center, Cut Staff, Scale Back Production." Associated Press 05/20/2011.