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New York's City Opera is making its homecoming tonight.

As John Schaefer points out, City Opera had a very difficult off-season. The company was essentially homeless for a full season as its theater underwent renovations. Its director left abruptly and, like all not-for-profits, the opera was hurt by the economic crisis. A challenging mix for a company trying to compete with the Met.

But, now it's back in the newly renovated (and renamed) David H. Koch Theater, which has been getting its own buzz for a dramatic art installation in the lobby by E.V. Day. And Schaefer says that City Opera's new artistic director, George Steel, and his staff have the company poised for a comeback.

They’ve put together a typically interesting, offbeat, and surprising season — they even had to add a fifth performance of Hugo Weisgall’s “Esther,” a very unexpected and pleasant surprise. I think this shows that City Opera can play in the big leagues, even in a city that already has the premiere big league team.

The season gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. with a benefit concert, "American Voices," that will include Lauren Flanigan, Marc Kudisch, Samuel Ramey, the New York City Ballet and Rufus Wainwright.