The New York City Opera, the deeply troubled company based at Lincoln Center, has named Dallas-based director and conductor George Steel as its new general manager. The announcement comes after last fall's departure of Gerard Mortier, the Belgian iconoclast who promised a shake-up of the opera but quit before he began the job. As the New York Times reports, Steel faces an uphill battle to balance City Opera's budget and revive its artistic mission.
While the Metropolitan Opera has seen a revival in fortunes under its new manager, Peter Gelb, the neighboring and less expensive City Opera has languished. Its endowment has shrunk substantially, and this year the company canceled all performances while it renovates its theater. Steel said that he would "dive headfirst" into the position, which he begins on Feb. 1, and insisted he would save the company: "New York is unthinkable without it."