The New York City Opera seemed destined for bankruptcy Monday, lacking a substantial portion of the $7 million it needs to continue operation.
The city's second opera company, dubbed "the people's opera," set out to make the genre more accessible to the masses at an affordable price when it opened in 1944.
But as of Monday morning, the establishment had collected only $2 million of the $7 million it needed to keep its doors open.
"The New York City Opera plans to cancel its season and file for bankruptcy if we don't find the funds to finance our season by Monday" at midnight, George Steel, general manager and artistic director, said over the weekend.
The company's board decided last week to file for bankruptcy if the sum was not met, after enduring financial difficulty in recent years.
NYCO's Saturday evening performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage's "Anna Nicole" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music was met with particular emotion. Some musicians were in tears as they acknowledged the hall and what could be the company's last performance.
In the 1960s, NYCO helped launch the careers of greats such as Placido Domingo and American soprano Beverly Sills.
"I am only one among many, many singers who have had essential early training and encouragement with this company over the 70 years of its existence," Domingo was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying.
"I think it's terrible that a city as big and as wealthy as New York can't support a second major opera company — one that is able to take risks with repertoire, engage relatively inexperienced singers and make other experiments," Domingo told the Journal.
NYCO, which also offers educational programs for children, had been part of the Lincoln Center from 1966 until 2010, when financial difficulties forced it to leave, set up in Lower Manhattan and significantly reduce output.
© AFP 2013