Nomadic New York City Opera Says It Needs $7 Million to Survive

New York City Opera said it must raise $7 million this month or the season’s first production may be the last.

General Manager George Steel’s appeal comes two years after he began “dismembering” the company, in the words of protesters such as director Hal Prince, by slashing productions and abandoning its Lincoln Center home.

The once-venerable institution, founded in 1943, has taken to the online fundraising service Kickstarter to raise $1 million of the $7 million, the opera said in a release. As of 4:35 p.m. eastern time, it had raised $6,430 from 59 backers.

“We have reached a crossroads: simply put, we need capitalization, both for the rest of this season and for the company to continue forward on solid financial footing,” Steel said in a statement.

The opera needs an additional $13 million by year-end to pay for future seasons, it said.

“Anna Nicole” is to begin Sept. 17 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The show about the surgically enhanced heiress Anna Nicole Smith had a well-reviewed premiere at London’s Royal Opera House. The remainder of the season is scheduled for the El Museo del Barrio in upper Manhattan, St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and New York City Center.

In 2011-12, NYCO received $9.7 million in grants and contributions, half of the amount of five years earlier, according to audited financial statements. Ticket sales in 2011-12 were $1.1 million, down two-thirds from the previous season.

To contact the reporter on this story: Philip Boroff in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at

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