Photo © Pavel Antonov

Photo by Pavel Antonov


For nearly seventy years, since Mayor Fiorello La Guardia established it as “The People’s Opera,” New York City Opera has introduced generation after generation of young singers who are stars in the making, brought the public exciting new works and compelling, fresh interpretations of classics, acted as a champion for American composers and performers, and ensured that every New Yorker can experience the live art of opera.

Now is a time of extraordinary achievement by the Company. Under the leadership of George Steel, New York City Opera’s ninth General Manager and Artistic Director, the Company presented, in Spring 2013, four brand-new productions, all by New Yorkers, in two of the city’s most iconic venues: the Brooklyn Academy of Music and New York City Center, New York City Opera’s original home, which Mayor La Guardia dubbed “The People’s Theater.”

In the past three years, 64 singers and 25 directors and designers have made their New York City Opera debuts. Among singers alone, those who have gone from New York City Opera debuts to international success are Joshua Hopkins (2011 A Quiet Place, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2012); David Lomelí (2011 The Elixir of Love, debuted with Santa Fe in 2011 and Glyndebourne in 2012); Corinne Winters (2012 Rufus Wainwright Concert, 2012 George London Competition winner) and Anthony Roth Costanzo (2010 Partenope, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2012).

These artists join the ranks of more than 3,000 young singers whose international careers New York City Opera has launched, including David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Lauren Flanigan, Reneé Fleming, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness and Frederica von Stade, to name a few.

Many innovations that define New York City Opera’s identity and mission—promoting accessibility through the use of supertitles, prioritizing affordable ticket prices, nurturing young American artists, championing 20th-century opera and American works and presenting groundbreaking productions—have been adopted by leading U.S. companies of all sizes.

Prior to New York City Opera, Steel, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein, served as Executive Director of Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, which he transformed into one of New York’s most acclaimed showcases for early and modern music. Mr. Steel has received the Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming twice (2001-02 and 2005), the 2003 Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center and the 2003 ASCAP Concert Music Award.

At New York City Opera, Mr. Steel has achieved the first balanced budget the Company has enjoyed in a decade. He has, in so doing, accomplished a feat that was all but unimaginable just a few years ago: helping the Company find a sustainable model that will allow it to remain true to its original promise for decades to come.

Last Updated: July 1, 2013


Blake Zidell & John Wyszniewski