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Trouble in the Pit: Metropolitan Opera Musicians Inch Towards Strike, General Manager Peter Gelb Refusing Common Ground on Salary Cuts

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on May 17, 2014 03:23 PM EDT

The Metropolitan Opera's stuff has been hitting the fan lately. Those financial troubles still threaten to take down the New York City institution.

And now, musicians of the opera orchestra may go on strike--if their contract talks with Peter Gelb and Co. should fail.

The strike threats came into play after the musicians' negotiating committee said it had received unfavorable contract proposals from management in the first round of discussion.

The given authorization for a strike is tricky though, and it made things a little awkward on the table.

All the same, pit musicians wore solidarity buttons on a live HD simulcast last Saturday.

A Met spokesman says that the talks are merely in the initial round.

This whole strike idea, then, might just be a rumor.

"Our singular goal is to control our costs in order to secure a sustainable business model that will ensure the Met's future and the livelihood of its employees," said the Met spokesman, who clearly wishes to remain anonymous.

Labor costs for the opera account for two-thirds of the Met's overall budget, and the company is trying to shrink expenses to rebuild it's small endowment, as wealth contributors have been tapped out thus far.

Per WQXR, clarinetist Jessica Phillips Rieske, chairmwoman of the negotiating committee, said that salaries must remain at a competitive level, because why else would anyone stick around if the world-class talent can go elsewhere?

We can only hope these next rounds reach common ground--keeping a great NYC opera company afloat.

New York City Opera has folded, and Classicalite would hate to see the Met shutter its space at Lincoln Center.

Here's but a section of Jonas Kaufmann in Werther earlier this year...live at the Met.

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TagsThe Metropolitan Opera, Musicians Negotiating Committee, WQXR, Jessica Phillips Rieske

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