In last-ditch appeal, New York City Opera launches Kickstarter campaign to fund season

New York City Opera presents Benjamin Britten's "The Turn of the Screw" at BAM Opera House in Brooklyn February. The opera launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund its current season. Credit: Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images
New York City Opera presents Benjamin Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” at BAM Opera House in Brooklyn in February. The opera launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund its current season.
Credit: Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images

If the New York City Opera doesn’t get $7 million by the end of the month, its current season will be suspended.

In a last-ditch appeal, the opera launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter this week, hoping to scrounge up $1 million in donations.

“We have always been an opera about a large audience; it makes sense to have a campaign everyone around the world can participate in — anyone no matter their economic background can contribute just a dollar,” said George Steel, the opera’s general manager and artistic director.

When it was founded 70 years ago, then-Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called the New York City Opera the “People’s Opera.” In keeping with this tradition, tickets have always been priced low enough for most everyone to appreciate its productions.

Like that notion, Steel said the Kickstarter campaign also reflects the opera’s efforts to move toward the future.

“Embracing the Internet as a way to encourage donations to save the opera makes sense,” he said.

With 18 days to go early Thursday night, the online campaign raised just over $70,000.

“We have a steep hill ahead of us to climb,” Steel said, adding later, “I think it will require some really major donors to step in.”

Despite tremendous fundraising difficulties ahead, the opera managed to secure enough cash to put forth “Anna Nicole,” which could well be its final production.

Co-produced with BAM, “Anna Nicole” is both a comedy and tragedy about the life and death of the model and actress. It runs Sept. 17 to 28.

In addition to the $7 million needed to save this season, the opera needs $13 million before the end of year to fund future seasons.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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