Yesterday’s news about the impending liquidation of the New York City Opera (NYCO) isn’t much of a surprise to anyone who has followed the group over the past several years. If anything, it might be curious to some why the group decided to prolong and even intensify its suffering and extend the misery to the field as a whole, not unlike a zombie shuffling around spreading fear and doom among arts org neighbors with each figurative bite.
The New York Times published an article by Michael Cooper on 9/29/2013 that sums up these sentiments.
To opera fans, the all-but-certain demise of City Opera portends a future with fewer choices and fewer off-the-beaten-path works. To arts administrators, it offers lessons in how a series of bad management decisions over the years could ultimately prove fatal. But to the singers and musicians who make up the backbone of the company, it would mean a loss of performing traditions, the disappearance of another company that gives performers work, and farewells to colleagues who have grown close over the years.
As it turns out, we examined the very scenario of favoring liquidation over a prolonged and ugly demise back on 11/21/2012 in an article titled Considering The Walking Dead Triage Option (it’s a short post that even has video so do take the time to give it a read). If nothing else, the NYCO mess only reinforces the value of that approach and supports the notion that potential is rarely missed by those willing to recognize and seize the opportunity.
Put another way, and to borrow from a popular proverb, art abhors a vacuum.