A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 28, 2013
People’s Opera (New York City Opera)

The New York City Opera (NYCO) was founded in 1943 and was called the “people’s opera” by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (1882-1946). NYCO’s purpose was to reach a wide audience and to have affordable ticket prices, in contrast to the Metropolitan Opera ("the Met").

“The New York City Opera is a people’s opera, catering to an audience unacquainted with the traditions of foreign-language presentation” was cited in the book Worlds of Music (1952).


Wikipedia: New York City Opera
The New York City Opera (NYCO) is an American opera company located in New York City.

The company, called “the people’s opera” by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, was founded in 1943. The company’s stated purpose was to make opera accessible to a wide audience at a reasonable ticket price. It also sought to produce an innovative choice of repertory, and provide a home for American singers and composers. The company was originally housed at the New York City Center theater on West 55th Street. It later became part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts from 1966 to 2010 during which time it produced autumn and spring seasons of opera in repertory and maintained extensive education and outreach programs, offering arts-in-education programs to 4,000 students in over thirty schools. In 2011, the company left Lincoln Center due to financial difficulties, moving its offices and archives to 75 Broad St. in Lower Manhattan. In the 2011–2012 season NYCO performed four operas at various venues in New York City, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

New York City Opera—About Us
For seventy years, since Mayor Fiorello La Guardia established it as “The People’s Opera,” New York City Opera has introduced generation after generation of young singers who are stars in the making, brought the public exciting new works and compelling, fresh interpretations of classics, acted as a champion for American composers and performers, and ensured that every New Yorker can experience the live art of opera.

Google Books
Worlds of Music
By Cecil Michener Smith
Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott
1952
Pg. 202:
The New York City Opera is a people’s opera, catering to an audience unacquainted with the traditions of foreign-language presentation. With the Metropolitan, the case is somewhat different.

Google Books
13 January 1981, Edmonton (Alberta) Journal, “‘People’s opera’ cuts prices,” pg. D13, col. 1:
NEW YORK (AP)—Beverly Sills announced a 20-per-cent-cut this week in the price of subscription tickets to the New York City Opera.

She says she wants to win back the opera’s old patrons and it’s reputation as a “people’s opera.”

OPB
New York City’s ‘People’s Opera’ May Face Its Final Curtain
NPR | Sept. 10, 2013 7:15 p.m.
(...)
The New York City Opera, nicknamed the “people’s opera’ by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia when it was founded 70 years ago, has always been a low cost alternative to the more upscale Metropolitan Opera; a place where music lovers could discover new American voices — like Beverly Sills — and see fresh, innovative productions. But more recently, the company has fallen on hard times. On Sunday, City Opera announced that if it doesn’t raise $7 million by the end of September, the rest of this season’s performances will be cancelled.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Saturday, September 28, 2013 • Permalink