Ryan Tracy for New York City Opera Directorship
Hosts Press Conference to Introduce
“A Way Forward: A Rescue Plan for New York City Opera”

FRIDAY, JANUARY 2, 2009, 4:00pm-5:30pm

Location: The Center for Work-Life Policy, 1841 Broadway, Suite 400,
Entrance on West 60th Street, Opposite the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, (MAP)
Contact: Michael Hart, Campaign Manager
Phone #: +1 817.991.2265, Email:

Space is limited: Please RSVP

(New York, NY, December 31, 2008) Ryan Tracy (aka, Counter Critic) and special guests will host a press conference at 1841 Broadway on Friday, January 2, 2009, beginning at 4:00pm, to officially introduce himself, his advisory team, and his plan for rescuing the New York City Opera from extinction.

The conference will cover the following points:
• Introductions
• A Brief State of the New York City Opera
• The First Twelve Months
• Need for Fiscal/Administrative Transparency
• Limit of Term
• Administrative Re-Organization
• The Board of Directors
• Creative Advisory Board
• A Home for New York City Opera
• The Unsung Singer
• The Singer’s Body
• Stagione V Repertory
• Programming
• Sustainability




Give To New York City Opera…?

piggy-backHello, everyone!

I sat down with my Campaign Action Force yesterday for a nine-hour meeting. While fine tuning the original 12-step program to recovery into more well-developed and practically shaped policies (which will be released soon), we began to discuss how we would go about raising money for a New York City Opera in financial straights. We will need to raise money, and we will need to do it fast and well.

But NYCO’s most recent fund-raising initiative, “I Am City Opera,” is highly problematic, and, as we’ve said before, embarrassing.

Now, my Campaign Action Force, knowing that it will be necessary for our administration to ask for money–it isn’t the ask itself that is offensive, it’s how the ask happens in this video–we thought it would be a fine idea to make a good faith effort to raise some money for NYCO in a way that might be more passionate, less manipulative, and, in a word, more real. So, taking a cue from the Obama campaign, we set out on a text-message fund-raising campaign. Each member of the action committee sent out a text message to anyone in their cell phone address books. We have already received…$156.15 in pledges, and we expect more to come in today! I assure you that every dollar raised will be paid to the New York City Opera.

HOWEVER, some of these pledges are conditional, you know, on all those things that give us assurance that our hard earned money is not going to go to waste on an organization that can’t get its shit together.

Below, please find some of the responses we’ve received from our own personal constituents:

“That’s intense the NYCO is having troubles, I myself am having my own little recession, I don’t think I won’t be able to help.”

“Ask NYC ballet for some money! JK ill C what I can…”

“One hundred bucks if you can show me it’s gonna do something.”

“Who is this? And how did you get my number?” Continue reading

Counter Critic Is New York City Opera

Contrary to what you may find in this embarrassing and half-baked attempt to suck money from the general public, when it comes to the subject of who, exactly, is New York City Opera, there is but one emphatic answer: I am.

Now we’re playing hardball.


The Not So Short List

This is our time!

This is our time!

Since announcing my candidacy for the directorship of New York City Opera, my team has worked hard and tirelessly to flesh out a not-so-short list of nominees for the proposed para-advisory board that will help me reshape the future of New York City Opera.

We have cast a wide net in order to ensure that every facet of opera is well represented, and that the fiercest thinkers and practitioners in each field are given voice and freedom to develop ideas within their areas of expertise.

PLEASE REVIEW AND MAKE COMMENTS. Feedback is totally necessary here. Add awesome people we may have overlooked. Critique those we’ve suggested if you don’t think they’re up to snuff. Nominate yourself.

I plan on re-establishing New York City Opera as an opera organization that is connected to the culture it represents. New York City is an enterprising, studied, creative and wildly imaginative collective of free-thinkers and fearless individuals who want the world to be as awesome as they know it can be. You’re ideas are important. And your participation is vital to ensuring that the New York City Opera is as awesome as we all know it could be.

We haven’t much time, as the search for a new director is well under way. So jump in, and join me in fighting for a New York City Opera that will truly embody the spirit of “The People’s Opera.”

To paraphrase one of the most inspirational movies from the 1980s:
City Opera? What City Opera? In a couple more hours, it ain’t gonna be the City Opera anymore. Come on, guys, this is our time. Our last chance to see if there really is a future for the New York City Opera.

Yes we can.

Here is the list, in no meaningful order (and sorry if the “category” format is a little uncomfortable)…

Critics/thinkers (oxymoron?):

Claudia LaRocco, natch. Or, L.Ro as she goes by around these parts.

Alex Ross, but only if he takes back what he said about the tritone.

A.O. Scott: We cannot neglect film. If projections etc are to remain a part of contemporary theater, then let’s make sure we’re using the flat screen to its full capacity.

Ros, you’re in.

T-Bone, Steve Smith and Daniel Wakin from The Times. All good writers. All care about classical music.

Roselee Goldberg, again, if she gets her act together.

Maynard Solomon, for allowing us to believe that Schubert was a fairy! Continue reading

And in THIS corner!…

I AM New York City Opera (grrrrr!)

I AM New York City Opera (grrrrr!)

So, umm, rumor has it that New York City Opera may have decided upon George “The Animal” Steele to be it’s (we don’t need another) hero.

Umm, I don’t know what’s more emabarassing. The fact the NYCO is picking a former professional wrestler to lead a major opera company, or that I could take this bitch down with one arm tied behind my back.

Seriously, NYCO. When you’re ready to talk business, you know where to find me.

And leave your girly men at home.


Cover Girl

hdivas_2HDivas – For The New York Press


The single empty seat for the high-definition simulcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s 125th Anniversary opening-night gala (stick with me here) was in the back of a crowded Chelsea Clearview Cinema theater. I was balancing a Diet Coke in one hand and a small bag of popcorn in the other, when I heard the guy who I was about to sit next to comment to his friend under his breath— but, you know, loud enough so I could hear it—“Oh, Gawd. Here comes the popcorn…”

This situation may be familiar to many opera fans who, over the past two-and-a-half years, have eagerly attended the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” movie theater simulcasts, where $22 gets you a live performance, equal access to sound and stage and the freedom to dress casually and snack during the show.

When I asked Milton Sonday, 65, what his problem was with my popcorn, he demurred, saying only that it was some kind of “family thing.” Umm, OK… But to be civil, I promised Milton that I’d stop eating before the performance began; this was a compromise he seemed awkwardly reluctant to accept, possibly because I had called him out on being a dick. Nonetheless, I stayed true to my word.The simulcast ensued. And Milton and his friend, Terrence Dean, 55, both bitched about some of the tackier gowns that were coming down the red carpet The Met had rolled out for its September gala: “She looks like she’s wearing a hard candy wrapper.” Nice.

Click here for the full article…



Leggo My Bel Canto

normaOn Friday, Anthony Tommasini took a moment, in a hot piece on new technologies in opera, to parenthetically lament the current sate of affairs at The New York City Opera: (Remember the good old City Opera, nearly dormant and badly struggling right now?)

Never fear, T-Bone. CC is here.

Since my announcement, I’ve received some fabulous feedback from readers, both trusty C.C. supporters as well as a few colorful detractors, and have made an important revision to one of the points of the original twelve-step program I proposed.

Step. 5 – RE: Bel Canto

This seems to have been the most controversial point of my proposal. (No one, I repeat, no one came to the defense of The Board…) Continue reading

C.C. for New York City Opera Directorship

Yes we can!

Yes we can!

Counter Critic for the Directorship of The New York City Opera

“A Key-Change We Need”



I hereby announce my candidacy to assume directorship of The New York City Opera.

In these uncertain times, artistic organizations need stalwart leadership that will provide vision, direction, and most importantly, thought that isn’t lodged in the dark recesses of somebody’s ass.

As the New York City Opera continues to flounder in the murky waters of economic recession and general disregard, without a willing captain at the helm, it is imperative that someone who actually gives a damn about the institution be put in charge of leading the behemoth to safe and prosperous waters. (Yay, maritime metaphors!)

C.C. is that captain.

As Director of the New York City Opera, I propose to institute the following 12-step course of action:

1. Assemble a crack-pot para-advisory board of cultural thinkers

Like Obama, I will surround myself with a menagerie of “the best and the brightest” thinkers in the arts and culture. L. Ro., Andy Horowitz and Earl Dax (oh, and La Cieca) are def. on the short list. Maybe RoseLee, if she gets her act together. I’m open to suggestions, but the important thing is that more than just one ego will be involved in this process. Think of it as one ginormous mega-ego of ideas. [Updated here.]

2. Rout the Board

Boards are notoriously over-committed and under-concerned groups of people who constantly need to be coddled, have their asses kissed, and virtually begged to in order to fulfill the basic commitments they agreed to when they accepted their positions.

All Board members are subject to review, upon which time, if their behavior and past activities as a board member show sufficient benefit to the New York City Opera, then they will be allowed to stay, while also doubling their annual give-or-get commitment. (Yes!)

If a Board member’s performance has been sub-par, resistant, or complainy, they will be summarily dismissed without further adieu.

Institutions don’t need to cow kowtow to lazy, annoying, or creepy board members. There are NICE WEALTHY PEOPLE out there who would donate their money and efforts to worthwhile institutions. They only need to be found. So let’s find ‘em!

3. Umm…get some productions going!

Without delay, bring up some old and trusty productions out of the basement. Some opera is better than no opera at this point. Let’s keep the musicians and stage hands employed. Hey, we might even get an audience!

4. Commission no less than four new operas a year

It’s bullshit that Mozart got to compose like a new opera every year practically, and our living composers are relegated to writing maybe ONE per lifetime. To make new opera a viable contender in contemporary culture, it needs to be newer, faster, smaller, and have a constant presence in the world.

Hey, I’ll write them all, if that’s what it takes. That’s how committed I am to making The New York City Opera a better place… Continue reading

“The Christ in Me” and “The Bagwell in Me”: A comparative analysis

Below, you will find a post that I prepared weeks ago but didn’t get around to finalizing. It’s a revisit to Ann Liv Young‘s “The Bagwell in Me.” It’s a kind of mega-rant, full of twists and turns, perversities, theories, doubts, and, as always, criticisms. I know this makes me officially obsessed with her work, but whatevs.

Between writing this text and now, I have had a dream that Ann Liv was trying to be my friend, and I was nervous that she wouldn’t like me because of all the shit I wrote about her work. But, in the dream, she was actually totally cool with it. Alas, it was a dream.

After the following, I’m sure we’ll never be friends. But who knows. If I can call L. Ro. “a dirty old dried up lima bean” and then still wind up solid BFFs, maybe there’s hope for ALY and CC…


So, I’m following up on my review of Ann Liv Young’s “The Bagwell in Me”, for which I delivered a somewhat abrupt opinion, even for little old C.C. This is one of the benefits of blogging, in that I can revisit a review almost immediately after publishing it.

One thing readers of this site may have noticed over in the sidebar to the right, is that the top two posts almost every day for the past few weeks have been the awesomely bad Christian dance team from The Way, and my very first review of Ann Liv Young.

And before I posted the video from The Way, which now seems to be sending about a hundred people a day to this site, my review of Ann Liv at Rush Arts was always one of, if not the top read posts daily. I’d also like to note that this particular review has received over two thousand hits to date.

So can we learn anything from this statistical realities? I mean, what common interest could The Way and the work of Ann Liv Young possibly share?

Some initial observations…

Gawker Nation

First, and most obviously, spectacle. And this is spectacle in the first order, the kind that astonishes, but does not fundamentally impart any real knowledge. When people consume the kind of viral videos that The Way seems to have become, there is a shared sense of agog, or communal ridicule, or, for the more heart-warming viral videos (like the one with the lion hugging those two hippies), shared pathos. But my criticism of these YouTube hits is that they allow people to believe they know more about the world than they actually do.

Take the sensation, “Two Girls and a Cup” (That’s right! There’s a Wikipedia page. Definitely NSFW, and I honestly wouldn’t recommend anyone to watch it, unless you’re actually, genuinely interested in scatological fetish: aka, poop sex). Continue reading

Get Your CRACK On

Are you depressed, like me, about not having any money this holiday season to shell out for fancy tickets to a real live production of The Nutcracker? If so, then Ovation’s “Battle of the Nutcrackers: Grudge Match” just might be what the total global meltdown ordered. Below, find probably one of the best commercials I have ever seen in my life.


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