Cue the fat lady? New York City Opera fundraiser falls short

Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole in what could be the last staging by "the people's opera," New York City Opera. Credit: Stephanie Berger
Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole in what could be the last staging by “the people’s opera,” the New York City Opera.
Credit: Stephanie Berger

With just under three hours left to go, the New York City Opera’s desperate bid to raise funds through a Kickstarter campaign seems like a nonstarter. As of 9:30 p.m., they’d only raised $296,361 of the $1 million that would be necessary to ensure that the company could finish out its 2013-2014 season.

Even if this tactic had been successful, it wouldn’t have been the end of the fight — by a long shot. An estimated $13 million in additional funds would reportedly be needed to secure the future of upcoming seasons.

Seventy years ago, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called New York City Opera “the people’s opera.” But it’s not La Guardia’s era anymore. The people of today have spoken, and they aren’t reaching into their wallets to contribute to the opera company’s resuscitation. (This, in a world where contributors raised the $2 million needed for a “Veronica Mars” movie in 10 hours.) It’s a shame, considering how wholeheartedly the company embraced La Guardia’s epithet as a slogan and lived up to the legacy by offering affordable tickets as well as staging that appealed to a broad, common audience.

Most recently, that included “Anna Nicole” — yes, an opera about American pop culture phenomenon Anna Nicole Smith, who skyrocketed to semi-fame after appearing in Playboy, marrying a billionaire, getting her own reality TV show, losing her son to drugs and ultimately herself dying of a overdose at age 40. Clearly, this celebrity’s life has all of the makings of a scintillating theatrical saga. And it’s no wonder that the New York City Opera would choose this show to hopefully draw mass attention to a city staple in crisis during its timely Sept. 17-28 run.

As an opera, however, the presentation of Smith’s sad story only worked as large farce (unsurprising, considering that the libretto was by Robert Thomas, the man who brought the world “Jerry Springer: The Opera” in 2004). Although Sarah Joy Miller was an exquisite lead, both for her vocal talents and the nuances necessary to convey Smith’s famously big personality and lesser-known vulnerability, the story itself was begging for a vehicle with less class and more camp. The juxtaposition of high art and lowlife was amusing (a high soprano trilling prettily: “I’m gonna rape the goddamn American dream!”) but it’s a one-note, three-hour joke. The costumes, sets, large cast and other choices clearly flaunted a large budget. The same money thrown into a Broadway-style production of the same material perhaps would have been epic.

Alas, as it stands, the commendable bid for New Yorkers’ love does not seem like it was enough to save New York City Opera’s season. Albeit in a padded body suit, it appears that the fat lady — Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole Smith in this case — has indeed sung.

Is this the end of accessible opera in one of the biggest art hubs in the world? Maybe New York City Opera will live on at least one show longer, if it manages to raise enough for the jeopardized production of Bach’s “Endimione,” which tenuously remains scheduled on NYCOpera.com for February 2014.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD: Suspect fleeing traffic stop shot by cop…

The NYPD said an officer temporarily reassigned for the Summer All Out program shot a suspect who slammed into two NYPD cars and hit a cop in Brooklyn.

Local

De Blasio and first family will travel to…

Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City's first family will travel to Italy later this month for a summer vacation.

Local

TIPS: How to take great photos during 'Manhattanhenge'

Grab your camera and make the perfect picture this Saturday.

National

Seinfeld emoji cound be available next week

Get your puffy shirts and your marble rye ready, America. Seinfeld emoji could become available as early as next week.

Gossip

PHOTOS: Topless Cara Delevingne advocates for 'Free the…

Supermodel Cara Delevingne is never one to shy away from the gaze of social media. Yesterday, she chose to advocate for the 'Free the Nipple' campaign via Instagram, where she…

Gossip

PHOTOS: Axelle Despiegelaere AKA "most beautiful" fan gets…

Axelle Despiegelaere, the "most beautiful" soccer supporter of this year's World Cup, was fired by L'Oreal for a hunting photo on her Facebook account.

Television

Final season of 'Glee' will be only 13…

The final season of "Glee" will officially be only 13 episodes, instead of the usual 22.

Entertainment

Complex characters, juicy scripts boost Netflix's Emmy nominations

The unconventional approach to TV at Netflix netted 31 Emmy nominations, a major achievement after plunging into original programing just last year.

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

MLB

A Joffrey Ballet dancer threw the most beautiful…

http://youtu.be/Hg61JOZJrYM?t=29s While asked to throw a first pitch at a baseball game can be a treacherous and/or embarrassing experience (see Cent, 50), sometimes everything can…

Tech

Mesh sheds light on top 10 dating deal…

What are New Yorkers' top 10 dating deal breakers? Find out here.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…

Wellbeing

Stop thinking your diabetes risk begins above a…

When it comes to diabetes research, a new study says black and Asian adults may be at risk for developing diabetes at a lower weight…