Dear Friends,

No one I know is pleased about the demise of New York City Opera as we have now lost a valuable asset to our great city. Other fine cultural institutions are also in danger of closing as I am sure you have heard. We certainly do not want this to happen with the Center for Contemporary Opera and that is why we need your continued support.

Rather than write a long and dramatic appeal letter, please allow me to list a few points which we hope will demonstrate that we are worthy of your support.

  • CCO is now the second oldest continually operating opera company in Manhattan only after the Met. We have done this without the benefit ofTraviatas, Cav/Pags, Boehmes or any of the other warhorses that most opera companies use to fill the hall and pay the bills.
  • We are the only American opera company to perform in Europe on a regular basis: Latvia, Austria, Hungary (twice) and France (twice). We are bringing American opera to literally millions of Europeans as our productions have been broadcast live across the continent.
  • We have been developing new operas before it became “cool.” In the past three years, we have received over 200 submissions from composers all over the world.
  • Our productions are of a high quality. We were the only company in the long history of the Armel Opera Festival and Competition to sweep all the awards. Critics understandably may not like everything we do, but they never complain about our production values.
  • Have you recently read that women are not getting a fair shake in opera? Not so with us. Please check our record on this matter. We select colleagues and composers on merit, not race, age, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Last season, we produced seven operas and workshops, published two magazines and released two commercial recordings. All of this was done on a budget of about $250,000. Our overhead is less than 10%.
  • Our importance and influence reaches far beyond New York City. As an example, we are currently in discussions with a major European opera house concerning a possible collaboration. If we can pull this off, this could be our biggest triumph yet.

Ladies and gentlemen, we want to get to a three production season: one premiere, one American classic such as from those great and now neglected composers like Blitzstein, Floyd, Bernstein, and Weill, and then one music-theatre piece. To me, that sounds like a pretty exciting season and I hope you agree.

We can do this for about $600,000 a year. I have run large businesses before I became involved in opera ten years ago and know the importance of keeping overhead low while maximizing each dollar earned or donated.

Will you please help? There are two ways to make a tax deductible donation to CCO. The easiest way is to follow the link below. Or if you prefer, you can mail your contribution to us at 240 East 31st St, New York, NY 10016.

Thank you for your kind consideration and we appreciate whatever you can do. Not a penny will be wasted.

Jim Schaeffer

PS. For your convenience, you may donate safely on-line through Just Give. Please do so today.Thank you!

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Center for Contemporary Opera programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and with generous contributions from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation, The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, The Price Charitable Trust, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, and the Ramon Llull Institute.  We are most appreciative of all our supporters.