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New York City Opera Faces Uncertain Future

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The New York City Opera is hoping this season won't be singing a swan song, but the opera needs to raise $7 million by Monday or it will file for bankruptcy protection. NY1's Magee Hickey filed the following report.

"Anna Nicole" is based on the life and death of tabloid star Anna Nicole Smith, and opera lovers are hoping that the co-production with the Brooklyn Academy of Music doesn't turn out to signal the death of the 70-year-old New York City opera institution.

"They've been around for 70 years, so I hope that they will continue for another 70 years," said one person. "I think it's a real loss to the city if we have fewer opera companies, fewer arts programs, so I'm hoping that they can find a way.

New York City Opera's board says it will have to cut short its season and file for bankruptcy protection if it can't raise $7 million by Monday.

So far, the cash-strapped opera company has raised only $1.5 million, and it's Kickstarter campaign has yet to really take off.

"We can't go forward without capital," said George Steel, the general manager and artistic director of the New York City Opera. We have to have money up front to try and move forward, and we're trying to raise $7 million this month. It's a very steep mountain to climb."

New York City Opera was founded in 1943 and was called the people's opera by then-mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Its mission was to make opera accessible and affordable, and is known for featuring American themes, like "Anna Nicole," and American composers and great American opera singers, like Beverly Sills.

"The New York City Opera is so great and wonderful," said one person. "They have such great shows. A lot of people come out to support them. So to hear that they have to raise $7 million by Monday is really sad."

"It's poor administration. It's too late," said another. "It's a pity, because we're losing a great history and a great tradition."

"It's sad, but I don't think there's any hope. Do you?"

"Anna Nicole" is ending its run on Saturday. It could be the opera's final performance.
So far, only a fraction of what is needed has been raised on Kickstarter.

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