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Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in Articles | 0 comments

The State of NYCO or “The People’s Opera, in Peril”

Julius Rudel, conductor

Julius Rudel was the general director and principal conductor of the New York City Opera from 1957 to 1979. He offers his thoughts on the current state of the opera company in the following article published on June 7th in the New York Times.

“The New York City Opera was born in 1943, a year after I graduated from the Mannes Music School. Laszlo Halasz, the company’s first music director, hired me as a rehearsal pianist and vocal coach. I was 22 and had arrived in the United States five years earlier, after Hitler took over my native Austria.

“That an opera company could be created while World War II raged spoke to America’s best aspirations. Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia called it “the people’s opera,” in contrast to the older Metropolitan Opera, and from the beginning, it was. It brought opera to the masses, including immigrants like myself. It exposed audiences to innovative and challenging works. It showcased the talents of American singers and composers.

“Today, City Opera, to which I devoted some of the best years of my conducting career, is fighting to survive. Last month, it revealed plans to leave Lincoln Center, its home for the last 45 years, and to perform at various, unspecified locations around New York. It slashed its $31 million budget and laid off nearly a quarter of its administrative staff members. And it declined to say what operas it will put on next season, where they will be performed or how they will be financed. The vague plans put forward would leave the company not even a shadow of what it was intended to be — and became.”

Click the following link to keep reading:

Is there hope for the people’s opera?

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