Published January 25, 2016
After a bankruptcy beyond Wagnerian lengths, the New York City Opera is having a rocky resurrection, but not without hope.
Having gone down in 2013, City Opera seemed to pop up only days after a reorganization plan was approved by bankruptcy court, with a six-performance run of Tosca at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater (now concluded) that was dogged by mixed reviews and weather-related cancellations.
But having attended the Friday performance that ended just as the first flakes were falling, I see a niche in the making. The balcony’s $25 cheap seats felt like the old days of the so-called people’s opera, with scruffily dressed urbanites holding forth about hearing Franco Corelli in decades past, and others babbling dementedly after the music started (and being righteously hissed). Premature departures were few, and judging from the ovation, this Tosca made people happy – with a performance level that had probably kicked up a notch since the opening night that most critics saw.
Few of the names on the program were readily recognizable. General director Michael Capasso ran Dicapo Opera for 30-plus years before it collapsed in 2013. Among the two alternating casts, the better-known singers were Academy of Vocal Arts graduates James Valenti and Latonia Moore.