New York City Opera to sell off assets

Instruments, props and costumes set to go under the hammer


A closing down sale like no other is set to take place in Manhatten, when New York City Opera sells off its old instruments props and costumes early next month.


The sale, which will take place on 12 December, follows the closure of the once-acclaimed opera company last month amid spiralling debts – proceeds will be used to help pay off creditors.

Advertised as the ‘Last Chance to Own a Piece of Opera History’, the sale’s various lots at will include a celesta, cow bells and wigs galore, as artefacts from 70 years of productions go under the hammer. Over 60 instruments, in fact, will be sold, while those looking for some unique home furnishings may be interested in the sets of stage curtains that are up for grabs. No mezzo-sopranos are believed to be up for sale, and City Opera says that none of the lots will be worth more than around $15,000.

For opera-lovers, even those who do manage to purchase their piece of history, the auction will of course be a day for regret. Founded in 1943, New York City Opera used to enjoy a reputation for brilliantly imaginative productions and unearthing and championing the opera stars of tomorrow – singers to have made their US debut there include tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras.


Sadly, the company struggled in the recent economic climate and, unable to raise the $7m (£4.7m) needed to stay afloat, was finally declared bankrupt last month.