A Tale of Two Press Conferences: NYC Opera, Before and After

There were two press conferences at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Tuesday. At 1 p.m., and by invitation only, New York City Opera officially announced its slimmed down, multi-venue 2011-2012 season. At noon, and open to anyone who would listen, members of the NYCO orchestra and chorus gathered to protest the dismantling of the New York City Opera as it has been known for 45 years -- a full-season opera company with a permanent chorus and orchestra.

The "legit" event was hosted in the museum's theater by City Opera General Manager and Artistic Director George Steel; the union rally took place just outside on the sidewalk, and was hosted by local leaders of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). Both sides called themselves the New York City Opera. Both sides claimed to be "the people's opera," referencing Fiorello LaGuardia's famous moniker for the company. "Those people can't say they are the New York City Opera," shouted AGMA President James Odom, jabbing his finger in the air toward the museum. "But we can say we are the New York City Opera."

The crowd, comprised of about 100 union members, press and passers-by, roared its approval.


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