By Heidi Waleson

New York City Opera had a storied history, a reputation for scrappy, innovative productions, its own orchestra and chorus, and a prominent home at Lincoln Center. A perfect storm of economic circumstances and cultural shifts raised red flags about its survival. But the board of directors failed to understand and embrace their fiduciary and oversight responsibilities, and the 70-year-old company filed for bankruptcy. The company regrouped, but now operates in greatly diminished form.

An excerpt from Heidi Waleson’s Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of the New York City Opera and the Future of Opera in America chronicles the story from behind the scenes—and examines the important role that boards play in the success of performing arts groups.

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