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Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in News | 0 comments

City Opera Aims to Salvage Archive Damaged by Storm

by Daniel Wakin (via The New York Times) - New York City Opera’s music library was “totally ruined” by flooding from Hurricane Sandy, but the company’s archival material, going back 60 years, can be salvaged, a spokeswoman said on Friday. Water filled the basement of the Lower Manhattan building, 75 Broad St., where the company rents offices and storage space, last week.

Workers had removed about half of the material — consisting of recorded matter, programs, photographs and other items — to higher floors before the storm hit, said the spokeswoman, Risa B. Heller. George Steel, the company’s general manager and artistic director, worked hard to save the material, she said, even operating the freight elevator himself. “Half of our stuff was in that water,” she said. “The minute we learned of that, George contacted conservation experts.” Mr. Steel did not return a message left with the spokeswoman on Friday.

The materials in the basement were retrieved Thursday or Friday, Ms. Heller said, and would be treated and restored by Rapid Refile, a document recovery firm based in Allentown, Pa.

“We’re working with various libraries to find a permanent home for those materials,” she said. Ms. Heller said the company’s library of orchestra parts for an undetermined number of operas could be replaced at a reasonable price, although years of bowings and other performance indications would cost more.

The “historic value of our old materials cannot be usefully calculated, but it is a very sad loss,” she said in a later e-mail. Other non-archival material like payroll records and administrative files were also destroyed, she said. City Opera’s administration took up residence at 75 Broad St. after the company moved out of its Lincoln Center home, the David H. Koch Theater, last season.

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