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October 02, 2015

New York's Gotham Chamber Opera Shutting Down

Gotham Chamber Opera, a small New York troupe that won acclaim for producing small-scale works in a variety of unconventional venues, announced Thursday that it would close following the discovery of a previously unseen deficit, writes The New York Times.

Edward Barnes, the 15-year-old company's executive director, said that upon taking office in June he found invoices and contracted fees that had not been recorded in the organization's books. The Gotham board voted to shut down after failing to raise enough money to close what opera officials described as a deficit in the "mid six figures" and still fund the upcoming season. The organization's annual budget was less than $2 million.

Board President Beatrice Broadwater said the panel had not been told of the deficit prior to Mr. Barnes's discovery. Former executive David Bennett, who left Gotham to become general director of the San Diego Opera, denied that he kept the board in the dark about the organization's finances. "Some of the internal controls could have been better, but they weren't undisclosed," he said, adding that the company had long "sat on the razor's edge" financially.