Report: New York City Opera Near Deal for New Venue

Classic Arts News   Report: New York City Opera Near Deal for New Venue
New York City Opera will likely move to a newly constructed auditorium in a building near Lincoln Center, the New York Times reports.

Martin J. Oppenheimer, a vice chair of the company, told the Times that "they're very close to making a deal."

Under the proposal being considered, first reported by the Times in late 2004, City Opera would build a concert hall on the ground floor of a new high-rise apartment building on Amsterdam Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets, just west and north of the main Lincoln Center campus. The site formerly housed the headquarters of the American Red Cross.

Christian de Portzamparc, who built the arts complex Cit_ de la Musique outside Paris, is the architect for the building; Hugh Hardy, who created Dance Theatre of Harlem's headquarters, Glimmerglass Opera's home, and other performing-arts buildings, is responsible for the interior.

A spokesperson for NYCO told PlaybillArts that the company would not comment on the report at this point.

New York City Opera has been looking for several years to leave the New York State Theater, which was also houses New York City Ballet and was designed with dance in mind, with a sloped stage and sound-deadening acoustics. After a plan to build a new opera house at Lincoln Center was rejected by the Metropolitan Opera, the company applied to be part of a new performing arts center at the former site of the World Trade Center. It was considered a leading contender at one time, but was eventually rejected in favor of the Signature Theater Company and the Joyce Theater. Later, according to the Times, the company considered another site in lower Manhattan and a move into New York City Center.

The current proposal, unlike those possibilities, would allow City Opera to maintain its affiliation with Lincoln Center.

According to the Times, several obstacles to the deal remain. The Amsterdam Avenue site is not zoned for a high-rise building, but the city of New York may transfer the air rights over Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza, which it owns, to the opera house. It also remains unclear how much financial assistance the city would contribute.

And if City Opera does move, the State Theater would need to fill several months of its schedule, mostly likely with additional dance programming. "It's going to be a great ballet house," Oppenheimer, who is the chair of the theater as well as vice chair of City Opera, told the Times. "We will reach out to other ballet companies."

Recommended Reading: