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State Parks Announces Plan for 2009-10 Empire State Games

Participation Fees, Discontinuation of Certain Events Necessary to Preserve Games for High School and Physically Challenged Athletes, while Addressing Record State Budget Deficits

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today outlined a plan that preserves the Governor Hugh L. Carey Empire State Games for high school and physically challenged athletes, while also taking necessary action to address an economic downturn that is severely impacting the state budget.

In the 2009-10 fiscal year, participation fees of $285 and up to $100 will be implemented for the Summer and Winter Games, respectively. Previously, there had been no participation fee. The Games for the Physically Challenged will continue to have no participation fee.

In addition, the annual Senior Games, and all Masters, and Open competitions in the Winter and Summer Games, will be suspended for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Certain events and activities for high school athletes and the physically challenged will also be suspended or scaled back, as detailed below.

The changes for the 2009-10 fiscal year are in response to a 10 percent agency spending reduction ordered to help the state address a precipitous reduction in revenues caused by a deep recession. The Empire State Games, which originated in 1978, has operated on an annual budget of $3 million – including $2.7 million in state funding support. State funding support will be discontinued in 2009-10.

"In a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, the unfortunate reality is that reductions have to be made across every area of government," said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that allows the Games to continue for high school and physically challenged athletes, while also helping the state address its record $15.4 billion deficit."

Looking ahead to the 2010 Summer Games in Buffalo, Ash indicated that the agency would be pursuing private sponsorship with the hope of reinstating the suspended competitions, as well as revisiting the new fee structure.

Further information on the Games is included below:

The Summer Games: July, 2009, Mid-Hudson Valley

A $285 fee for scholastic-level athletes will be implemented. The fee will cover the cost of room, board and local transportation during the four-day event. Scholastic boxing, fencing, and shooting will be suspended for the 2009 summer games


The Winter Games: February, 2010, Lake Placid

Athletes will continue to pay for their own meals and lodging, as they have traditionally done. The opening ceremonies will also be scaled back. A participation fee of up to $100 will be implemented.

The February 2009 Winter Games will be held as planned with no fee. However, three sporting events will be suspended (bobsled, luge, and skeleton).

The Games for the Physically Challenged: May, 2009, Long Island; October, 2009, Brockport

The Games for the Physically Challenged, for athletes 5-21 years old, will have streamlined activities and events.

Information on the Empire State Games, including details on registration, can be found at

The reduction in state support for the Empire State Games is one of several steps State Parks has taken to address the state's fiscal crisis, including reducing operations at state parks and historic sites, eliminating the 2009 State Park Police academy, instituting a hard hiring freeze, eliminating state support for the Heritage Areas program, and others.

DEC Releases 2009 "State of the Hudson" Report

Action Agenda to Help Set Five-Year Course For Hudson River Estuary New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced the release of the "State of the Hudson 2009 Report" and the "Draft 2010-2014 Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda" during the Hudson River Estuary Program Summit at the Hotel Thayer, West Point, on the Hudson River.

The State of the Hudson 2009 is an illustrated report that describes progress and identifies ongoing problems. It looks at water quality, habitat and fish and wildlife of the estuary, as well as biodiversity, tributary health, and land-use patterns in the Hudson's watershed. The State of the Hudson 2009 is available on the DEC website. The Draft Action Agenda 2010-2014 helps set the course for estuary management for the coming five years. Both documents also are available by calling the Hudson River Estuary Program office at 845-256-3016. "Fittingly, we are issuing this report during the Quadricentennial celebration of the Hudson. But as we are celebrating 400 years of Hudson River history, we'd be wise to remember the river's recent past," Commissioner Grannis said. "The river has made a remarkable come back over the last 40 years, from the days it was regarded as an open sewer. Yet more work is needed - from keeping toxics out of the estuary to upgrading water infrastructure to increasing citizen stewardship. The State of the Hudson Report gives us a sense of where we are and what we need to do to continue the comeback."

In cooperation with Historic Hudson River Towns and others, the DEC-led Hudson River summit takes stock of priority issues confronting the Hudson River Estuary. Participants focus on their vision for the future and examine how partnerships can be expanded to achieve common goals for the river. More than 170 people were slated to attend the summit, including local partners who provide valuable services for protection and management of the Hudson River Estuary and its watershed.

"The river shaped our past. We now shape its future," said Fran Dunwell, DEC's Hudson River Estuary Coordinator. "Our power to alter the Hudson must be informed by understanding of the vital role the river plays in our lives."

DEC's Draft Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2010-2014 is the blueprint for cleaning and protecting the Hudson River and its watershed, while increasing public access, conserving vital natural resources, improving educational programs, and protecting open space along the entire estuary. The Draft 2010-1014 Action Agenda focuses on priorities such as restoring and maintaining signature species and the ecosystems that support them; assisting communities to prepare for climate change, including sea level rise and flooding of tributary streams; maintaining the resiliency of the Hudson watershed ecosystem and its world-famous landscape; achieving the goal of swimmable water quality and maintaining the water quality New York has achieved by upgrading wastewater infrastructure.

Led by the DEC, the Draft 2010-2014 Action Agenda is an inter-agency effort undertaken cooperatively with the Department of State, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Office of General Services and others.

Written comments on the draft are due by July 31. Comments can be sent via e-mail at (please include the words "Hudson River Action Agenda" in the subject line) or by mail addressed to: Frances F. Dunwell, NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561.

There will be additional public comment opportunities in fall 2009. A final Action Agenda is targeted for release in January 2010.

New York City Opera Announces 2009-2010 Season and Reopening of Renovated David H. Koch Theater with Gala Performance on November 5, 2009



(New York, NY, April 1, 2009) Under the new leadership of General Manager and Artistic Director George Steel, and with all performances taking place in the newly renovated David H. Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater), New York City Opera will present five operas in 2009-2010, in fall and spring seasons. With repertoire that spans opera history from the early 18th to the late 20th centuries — including the premiere of a new production — the 2009-2010 season reaffirms the company’s historic mission to present innovative productions, to champion contemporary works, to rediscover early and lesser-known operas, and to promote American artists.

The 2009-2010 season will open with Hugo Weisgall’s masterpiece Esther (opening Saturday, November 7, 2009), which is being revived for the first time since New York City Opera presented the opera’s world premiere in 1993. And as a pièce d'occasion for the company’s return to the stage of the David H. Koch Theater, George Steel has commissioned a new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni (opening Sunday, November 8) — part comedy, part melodrama, part supernatural morality play — from director Christopher Alden. The company’s spring season of revivals will begin with City Opera’s sparkling production of Chabrier’s rarely performed L’Étoile (opening with a gala performance on March 18, 2010). This will be followed by the Opera’s Emmy Award-winning production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (opening Friday, March 19, 2010) and Handel’s romantic comedy Partenope (opening Saturday, April 3).

“This first season in our renovated home will show the many ways City Opera makes outstanding contributions to the people of New York and to the world of opera,” stated George Steel. “We are excited to return to our audiences, on schedule, and are thrilled to be moving forward with our plans for a more expansive 2010-2011 season.”

To launch the 2009-2010 season, New York City Opera will present an all-American Opening Night Gala Concert honoring David H. Koch on Thursday, November 5, 2009 — the premiere event in the renovated David H. Koch Theater. Showcasing the historic role of the company in American opera and musical theater, the evening will feature renowned artists, many of whom began their illustrious careers with the company. Adding to the festivities, New York City Ballet will appear as a special guest at the invitation of New York City Opera.

New York City Opera will, for the 11th year, continue the tradition of presenting its VOX: Showcasing American Opera, a unique annual festival of excerpts from new operas that offers American composers and librettists the opportunity to hear their works performed by the New York City Opera Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists. Each year, VOX presents up to twelve previously unproduced works from both emerging and established composers in orchestral readings that are free and open to the public.

New York City Opera’s popular Opera For All program also continues in 2009-2010. With the expansion of this successful initiative to make opera affordable for all New Yorkers, a total of 600 Opera For All seats — all under $20 — will be sold in advance for most performances through subscription (and through single ticket sales starting September 8, 2009). Opera For All also resumes its rush program by offering 50 to 75 orchestra seats at $25 each week.

About the Productions

Hugo Weisgall’s Esther (with a libretto by Charles Kondek), a retelling of the biblical story of the brave and beautiful woman who rescued her fellow Jews from near-destruction in ancient Persia, had its world premiere at New York City Opera in 1993. The first performance of this powerful, uncompromising drama earned both an ecstatic ovation from a spellbound City Opera audience and a chorus of raves from the critics, followed by frequent appeals for its revival. The 2009 presentation at City Opera will mark the work’s first revival since its premiere performances, and underlines the company’s signature dedication to developing and supporting contemporary American opera. Soprano Lauren Flanigan will return as Esther. The production is directed by Christopher Mattaliano, with set design by Jerome Sirlin, costumes by Joseph Citarella, choreography by Jennifer Muller. New York City Opera Music Director George Manahan will conduct. Esther will be performed in English, with English supertitles.

For the first new production under his leadership, George Steel has tapped renowned director Christopher Alden to create a new interpretation of Mozart’s endlessly rich Don Giovanni, in the company’s first new presentation of this masterpiece since 2002. Alden, who has been associated with New York City Opera since 1979 and recently collaborated with George Steel on the New York premiere of Elliott Carter’s What Next? at the Miller Theatre, will lead a creative team including set designer Paul Steinberg, costume designer Terese Wadden, and lighting designer Adam Silverman. Daniel Okulitch is Giovanni. Don Giovanni will be performed in Italian, with English supertitles.

L’Étoile, Chabrier’s droll and sparkling comic opera was first seen at New York City Opera in 2002. In this witty, stylish production by the celebrated director Mark Lamos, pitch-perfect sets are by Andrew Lieberman, costumes by Constance Hoffman, and lighting by Robert Wierzel. This revival of L’Étoile reaffirms the company’s longtime advocacy of neglected operatic gems. L’Étoile will be sung in the original French, with English supertitles.

Partenope, one of eleven Handel operas in the company’s extensive Baroque repertory, received its acclaimed New York premiere at New York City Opera in 1998 in this touching and fanciful production originally directed by Francisco Negrin. This comic tale of cross-dressing and romantic entanglements is set in the court of the first Queen of Naples. Cyndia Sieden is Partenope. The production features sets by John Conklin, costumes by Paul Steinberg, and lighting by Robert Wierzel. Partenope will be performed in Italian, with English supertitles.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, last presented at New York City Opera in the 2007-08 season, received an Emmy Award for its 2008 Live From Lincoln Center telecast which captivated an audience of millions. This beloved production by Mark Lamos showcases the company’s fresh, unique approach to the standard operatic repertoire, perfectly capturing all the romance and tragedy in Puccini’s immortal tale of a disastrous clash between East and West. Stage direction is by David Grabarkewitz, sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Constance Hoffman and lighting by Robert Wierzel. George Manahan will conduct. Madama Butterfly will be performed in Italian, with English supertitles.

Subscriptions, Schedule and Tickets

Subscriptions for New York City Opera’s 2009-2010 season will be on sale beginning May 1 for renewing subscribers and June 15 for new subscribers. The subscription office can be reached at (212) 496-0600. Single tickets go on sale September 8, 2009.

New York City Opera stage productions will take place at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center (63rd St. & Columbus Ave). Ticket prices range from $12 to $145. Weekday performances, with the exception of Tuesdays, begin at 8:00pm. Tuesday performances begin at 7:30pm. Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 8:00pm; matinees begin at 1:30pm.

David H. Koch Theater Renovations

New York City Opera and New York City Ballet have undertaken a $200 million capital campaign — the first such joint venture in the companies’ histories — to enhance audience amenities and provide a state-of-the-art environment for productions at their shared home, the David H. Koch Theater, renamed in honor of Mr. David H. Koch’s $100 million lead gift to the joint capital campaign. Significant additional support in the amount of $25 million has been provided by the City of New York, through the Department of Cultural Affairs with support from the City Council and the Manhattan Borough President. The improvements being made to the theater include: an enlarged orchestra pit with a mechanical lift, new and upgraded stage lighting, the installation of new seats throughout the theater, and improved accommodation for audience members with disabilities. The scope of the renovations was recently expanded to include additional aisles on the orchestra level of the theater, resulting in more comfortable and convenient access for patrons.

New Website

New York City Opera has recently launched an entirely redesigned website featuring its new graphic identity ( New features include more streamlined and efficient navigation, dynamic multimedia components, and personalized content which may be tailored to individual visitors’ interests and preferences. A new “My New York City Opera” tool allows users to set up personal online accounts to customize their online experience and view past ticket purchases and donation history. Production pages will feature a media player with images and video and audio clips, which can provide audiences with more information about operas before they choose to make a purchase. Redesigned blog and podcast areas also allow users to bookmark and share posts easily with an extensive list of social networking sites. In the upcoming months, the Opera’s website also will feature a Select-Your-Own-Seat module offering patrons the ability to book specific seats online for the first time. The New York City Opera Stage Door, an extensive online archive focusing on the company’s rich history and offering a new searchable database of every production, performance, and cast since the company’s 1944 opening, will be launched in summer 2009.


New York City Opera gratefully acknowledges its 2009-2010 leadership sponsors: Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Estate of Ruth H. Klotz, Lincoln Center Corporate Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc. in memory of Theodore and Caroline Newhouse, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, and The Alice Tully Foundation.

Major support is provided by Joseph and Sophia Abeles Foundation, The Bodman Foundation, Estate of Rose Braverman, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Target, Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, Inc., The Evelyn Sharp Foundation, Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation, and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund. American Airlines is the Official Airline of New York City Opera.

New York City Opera's 2009-2010 programming is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About New York City Opera

Since its founding in 1943, New York City Opera has been recognized as one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, celebrated for its adventurous programming and innovative, risk-taking production style. The company’s wide-ranging repertory of 274 works spans five centuries of music and includes 29 world premieres and 61 American and/or New York premieres of such notable works as Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shostakovich’s Katerina Ismailova, Busoni’s Doktor Faust, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges and The Flaming Angel, Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, and Glass’ Akhnaten. The company has been a leading showcase for young artists, helping to launch the careers of more than 3,000 singers, including José Carreras, Phyllis Curtin, David Daniels, Plácido Domingo, Lauren Flanigan, Elizabeth Futral, Jerry Hadley, Catherine Malfitano, Bejun Mehta, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Gianna Rolandi, Beverly Sills, Norman Treigle, Tatiana Troyanos, and Carol Vaness. In 1983, City Opera made operatic history when it became the first American opera company to use supertitles, an innovation that has revolutionized the way opera is produced and appreciated worldwide.

In February 2009, George Steel, former executive director of the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, began his tenure as New York City Opera’s new General Manager and Artistic Director. Building on the company’s core mission of artistic excellence and accessibility, Mr. Steel’s plans include broadening the company’s adventurous approach to repertory, supporting the careers of promising artists, and continuing to develop the company’s acclaimed education and outreach programs.

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