With Competing Suitors Interested for City Opera, Assets Will Be Sold Jan. 20

News   With Competing Suitors Interested for City Opera, Assets Will Be Sold Jan. 20
 
Judge Sean H. Lane of United States Bankruptcy Court ruled Dec. 22 that bids for the name and assets of City Opera, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2013, would be due Jan. 12, 2015.

The hearing for the sale, which could result in an auction if multiple parties are interested, is scheduled for Jan. 20.

As previously reported, City Opera voted to recommend the sale of the New York City Opera name, related intellectual property and the New York City Opera Thrift Shop to NYCO Renaissance, Ltd. — a new and independent 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization. NYCO Renaissance would make Michael Capasso the general director.

Capasso is the general director of the Dicapo Opera Theater, which the Times reports was sued by the musician's union Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians for money that its members are owed. They recovered more than $50,000 in wages, pension and late fees for musicians who had not been paid for performances. Additionally, numerous singers told the Times that they were not paid for their last week of work in Dicapo’s 2012 production of Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella; they were not protected by a union and have still not been paid.

The Times reports that Gene Kaufman said in court papers that the company's assets should be sold in a court-supervised auction because the board had mishandled its affairs, resulting in allowing its endowment being severely depleted.

City Opera officials said in court papers that Kaufman's proposals exaggerated his relationships with both Opera America and the Glimmerglass Festival, according to the Times, which quoted a letter from Marc A. Scorca, Opera America's president, saying that Mr. Kaufman's proposal had represented his group "in a manner that is not consistent with our understanding of our relationship." Opera America is a service group that provided Kaufman with data that he used in developing his proposal. The NYCO Renaissance plan includes staging City Opera productions at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Its backers include Roy G. Niederhoffer, an investment manager and former City Opera board member and and Jeffrey Laikind, another former City Opera board member. Niederhoffer agreed to become the chairman of City Opera's board, and Laikind agreed to become its president.

The Times reports that the plan has received more than $2.5 million in support pledges as well as support from the musicians' union and some opera singers and the family of Julius Rudel, City Opera's former conductor who died in June 2014.

Other suitors who have submitted proposals for City Opera's assets include the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Purchase College.

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