On the eve of its return to life with a modest staging of Tosca, The New York City Opera is offering to refund money to subscribers who were left holding the bag when the company declared bankruptcy in 2013 and canceled the balance of its season, according to The New York Times.
The subscribers are also being offered half-price tickets to Tosca, scheduled for Jan. 20-24 at Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center n Manhattan.
The Times reported that nearly 670 operagoers who held 2013-14 NYCO season tickets were alerted to the offer in an email this week, which said, in part, "You are entitled to and will receive a refund for tickets bought from the New York City Opera prior to bankruptcy.... A letter will go out soon with details on how you will receive your cash payment."
NYCO, which collapsed under a pile of debt in 2013, has emerged in recent days, thanks to a decision from the Bankruptcy Court of Manhattan, which Jan. 12 approved a group's plan to restart the company.
As previously reported by the Times, "architect and music aficionado" Gene Kaufman had agreed to accept $300,000 to withdraw his bid for NYCO's assets and allow former NYCO board member and hedge-fund manager Roy Niederhoffer and his group, NYCO Renaissance to proceed with a plan to pay creditors and put the opera company back on the road to the limelight.
NYCO Renaissance has earlier announced plans to mount Puccini’s Tosca at Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center Jan. 20-24, under the general directorship of Michael Capasso. The group will use the name "New York City Opera" in connection with the production.
As part of the settlement deal, Niederhoffer will personally pay the $300,000 to Kaufman instead of the amount being paid by NYCO. A $1.25 million donation to NYCO Niederhoffer has pledged to make to NYCO will be reduced by the same amount, the Times reported. Niederhoffer agreed to pay $100,000 to cover other claims against the company.
After many years at Lincoln Center's New York State Theater (now the Koch Theater), the company, which had been founded in 1943 as the low-cost "people's opera," left Lincoln Center due to financial difficulties and spent the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons, performing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and elsewhere.
The end came Oct. 1, 2013 when NYCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Niederhoffer has been trying since then to put the company back on its feet. The Wall Journal previously reported that his group, NYCO Renaissance Ltd., is backed by a committee representing the company’s unsecured creditors. The group has a plan to attract audiences and donors with "a mix of opera staples and niche works. Michael Capasso, who previously headed a small opera company that has since folded, would be the general director."