Opera diva Beverly Sills, holds a bouquet of roses presented by the orchestra and takes her final bows as balloons and confetti fall on the stage at the New York City Opera circa Nov. 1980. (G. Paul Burnett )

[Los Angeles Times]

Opera diva Beverly Sills, holds a bouquet of roses presented by the orchestra and takes her final bows as balloons and confetti fall on the stage at the New York City Opera circa Nov. 1980. (G. Paul Burnett )

New York City Opera, the venerated institution that New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia once affectionately dubbed the “people’s opera,” has officially lowered the curtain for good.

The company announced on Tuesday morning that it has begun the process of shutting down and that it will enter bankruptcy protection. The move was widely expected after the company failed to raise $7 million in an emergency fundraising campaign launched last month.

City Opera, which has been New York’s second-largest opera company, has been experiencing financial difficulty since at least 2008, when the company slashed its operating budget, prompting Gérard Mortier to quit his future position as the company’s general and artistic director.

The recession continued to pummel the company, which left its longtime home at Lincoln Center in 2011.

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