Our Mission

New York City Opera was famously dubbed “The People's Opera” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at its founding in 1943. Now in 2016, more than 70 years later, City Opera renews its historic mission to inspire audiences with innovative and theatrically compelling opera, nurture the work of promising American artists, and build new audiences through affordable ticket prices and extensive outreach and education programs.

  • New York City Opera-- the first year back

    New York City Opera-- the first year back

    Enjoy this retrospective of City Opera's triumphant, first year back on stage. Many more great moments are coming up this spring. We're just getting started!



    Opera legends and NYCO Renaissance, the team with plans to re-launch New York City Opera, speaks about the importance of bringing “the people’s opera” back to New York.



    Legendary director Harold Prince discusses the importance of the New York City Opera.



    Renowned bass-baritone Mark Delavan speaks about the importance of New York City Opera and the acoustics of the Rose Theater at jazz at Lincoln Center.



    Soprano Diana Soviero reflects on New York City Opera’s legacy of nurturing emerging opera stars.

  • Julius Rudel: The People's Maestro

    Julius Rudel: The People's Maestro

    NYCO celebrates the life and many contributions to New York City Opera of the late Maestro Julius Rudel with this video tribute.

History & Present

Since its founding in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as “The People’s Opera” New York City Opera has been a critical part of the city’s cultural life. During its history, NYCO launched the careers of dozens of major artists and presented engaging productions of both mainstream and unusual operas alongside commissions and regional premieres. The result was a uniquely American opera company of international stature.

For more than seven decades, NYCO maintained a distinct identity, adhering to its unique mission: affordable ticket prices, a devotion to American works, English-language performances, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and seasons of accessible, vibrant and compelling productions intended to introduce new audiences to the art form. Stars who began their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Samuel Ramey, and dozens more.

In 1999, New York City Opera founded VOX, Contemporary Opera Lab, an annual concert series that offered composers and librettists the opportunity to hear excerpts of their works performed by professional singers and musicians. For decades NYCO has been committed to introducing opera to the young, bringing the art form to new audiences with educational outreach performances in New York City’s public schools.

Now, having returned to the stage, New York City Opera continues its legacy at a new, state-of-the-art home at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, with revitalized outreach and education programs, and programming designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of City Opera audiences.

NYCO Renaissance History
NYCO Renaissance, Ltd. is a fully recognized, non-profit 501(c)(3) company dedicated to the restoration of New York City Opera to its original founding mission and its important place in the cultural life of the city, and the world. Utilizing a streamlined administration with strong oversight from an engaged, enthusiastic board of philanthropists and business leaders, NYCO Renaissance has succeeded in bringing New York City Opera out of bankruptcy with the unanimous support of its creditors.

On January 20, 2016, only eight days after the NYCO Renaissance plan for re-organization was confirmed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, City Opera returned to the stage. As a tribute to the founding of the company, New York City Opera, in co-production with NYCO Renaissance, presented Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, the opera that opened City Opera’s 1944 inaugural season. The performances, utilizing historical re-creations of the original sets and costumes from Tosca’s 1900 premiere, elicited standing ovations from capacity houses. The re-organized New York City Opera’s first full season will commence in fall 2016 and include four large-scale productions at Lincoln Center as well as chamber operas and events throughout the city. New York City Opera will continue the long tradition of “The People’s Opera,” presenting dramatically compelling and musically thrilling performances, at affordable prices. Please visit nycopera.com for more information on City Opera’s upcoming productions.