Cher Public

Sunk costs

More bad news: “New York City Opera’s musical library and archives, located 75 Broad St., have been damaged by water that all but filled the basement of the building. Hundreds of boxes were submerged from at least Tuesday until the room was drained Thursday. Although the exact contents are not known, the archive included Playbills, recordings and sheet music that could contain notes by legendary conductors such as Erich Leinsdorf, Julius Rudel and others.” [Wall Street Journal]

  • ianw2

    If they were submerged, the paper items are probably beyond salvage though the recordings may be recoverable with a good restorer. Of course, good restorers don’t come cheap and it’s not as if they’re rolling in spare change (though it could be an attractive philanthropy project? maybe? though not very glam).

    • Well, there are plenty of foundations devoted to the establishment and preservation of archives, so there may be some organization at hand to lend financial assistance in an emergency. I remember many years go the Stanford library had a catastrophic failure of its sprinkler system, flooding parts of the library: the water damaged books were salvaged by some sort of freeze-drying process.

      But despite that sliver of hope, this is unbelievably sad news.

      Spare a thought, too, for New Amsterdam records, which saw its offices flooded and stock destroyed.

      • Oh, I see the WSJ article already describes the freeze-drying. I should learn to click through beforehand.

        As Emily Latella used to say, “Never mind.”

  • CruzSF

    O my gosh. It’s almost as if that organization is cursed. They’ve gone beyond “what next?” A very, very sad development.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    This is just one more sliver of miserable news about the devastation from the superstorm. Hopefully the majority of the conductors’ scores were simply kept with the NYC Ballet Library as they had been for years in the NY State Theater. At least the cold weather will delay or prevent (I think) mould and mildew. It is very suprising that a remediation firm has already been identified. The WSJ article also makes one wonder about the unspeakable damages the flooding has caused to graves in the other bouroughs. I hope that is not going to turn into a real version of the John Conklin Lucia set.

    • 98rsd

      Well, obviously from the scant details provided, you’ve been able to completely master the situation…lucky you!

  • manou

    Sorry for the intrusion, but this is for armerjacquino (and his Mum):

    Wimbledon is very accessible, no?

    • armerjacquino

      Oooh, interesting! Thank you.

  • isis00

    The article mentions that Steel had 40 boxes moved upstairs from the flood waters, many marked ‘Beverly Sills’. The question I want to know is, why in the name of sanity didn’t they have ALL boxes moved upstairs?? They didn’t have the time to look through them to determine which were irreplaceable, so why not play it safe and move them all? Another example of Steel’s ineptitude at running NYCO, and a damn shame for the company’s valuable archives. Let’s hope the sets stored in NJ fared better.

  • zinka

    Also, it reached Lois Kirschenbaum’s apt.with the 568,098,655 autographs..and that is a good trick,because she lives on the 30th floor.(Just kidding)

    Am I acting more immature these days?

    It is the influence of VERISMO

  • Whenever I hear stories of this type I cannot stop myself from becoming extremely pissed off. I ask myself with so much notice of what was going to happen- why oh why were these items not moved to a safer locale? Perhaps I’m wrong and if I am I’m sure someone will attempt to put me straight- but so many treasures are continually lost forever due to abject stupidity. Other similar cases include the pillaging of the Iraqi Museum during the first Gulf War- and the BBC over recording video tape of some of the classic performances just to save a few bucks! In our country we seem to want to slap a preservation order on any old dump (buildings) and thankfully we now have a National archive to save and preserve film- but surely opera companies and private companies should pull their fingers out and do more to preserve artistic treasures- end of rant.