05 August 2011

New York City Opera to Suspend Opera, Begin Selling Felafel Instead

What Nyco’s felafel sandwiches might look like.

New York City Opera, reeling from a long-term financial crisis, management failures, lackluster programming and attendance, layoffs and labor disputes, homelessness, and the announcement this week that the company will cease to employ a music director, is “entering a bright new era of its legendary history, guaranteeing our survival far into the future,” according to general director George Steel, with plans to cease producing opera altogether, beginning next season. Instead, Steel said, the company will produce felafel.

“People like felafel,” Steel said, defending his decision. “This is absolutely in keeping with our charter — to be the ‘people’s opera’ — except for the ‘opera’ part. We’re still the company we always have been, and we look forward to your continuing support.”

The few remaining staffers will be laid off, singers and orchestra released from any outstanding contractual obligations, and Steel himself will sell the felafel, “probably from some sort of pushcart, bringing Nyco® Brand Felafel directly to the people of New York,” Steel told reporters. However, Steel admitted, negotiations have broken down, and the company has not yet obtained a cart.

“Once we get a suitable cart,” Steel said, “we can begin to sell the kind of innovative, exciting felafel that Nyco has always been known for,” Steel said, adding that the company’s name, “Nyco,” is no longer to be understood as an acronym for “New York City Opera.” “It’s just catchy,” Steel said. “It doesn’t stand for anything.”

Nyco will keep its distinctive company logo, Steel said:
“Doesn’t it look just like a felafel ball?”

Felafel, a traditional Middle Eastern dish, is made of a paste of chickpeas and other ingredients, formed into small balls, and deep-fried. It is often served in sandwiches, on pita bread. Among opera aficionados, felafel is known as something that renowned Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer (1928–2008) probably ate every now and then.

“Nyco is committed to creating unique opportunities for young American artists to enjoy felafel just as Beverly Sills and Catherine Malfitano once did, at the outset of their illustrious careers, in all likelihood,” Steel said, “with one of the most discerning felafel audiences in the world.”

Reached for comment, Metropolitan Opera general director Peter Gelb announced that the Met has already launched an “Xtreme Felafel” program, “with heart-pumping new flavors that include jalapeño, edamame-wasabi, and for dessert, salted-butter caramel.” Also, Gelb said, the Met’s felafel portions will be bigger.

“Our audiences demand really big balls,” Gelb said. “It’s what they’re accustomed to, and what they deserve.”


Daniel James Shigo said...

Brilliant mister. Brilliant. I am smiling ear to ear.

Anonymous said...

Its my understanding that Bloomberg will buy the first before entering City Center to conduct the washboard and kazoo orchestra! Should be an exciting evening in Hooterville!!!

Anonymous said...

A poignant warning to all opera co.s who forget their remit is to perform opera. OA watch out you might end up selling felafel!

Anonymous said...

Spectacular! Thank you for the most accurate report yet on the state of these affairs!