Met brings back Volpe to lead union negotiations

Posted on: February 8, 2010

In Friday’s (2/5) New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin writes, “Joseph Volpe, the one-time carpenter and Metropolitan Opera lifer, rose to become the Met’s general manager. Sixteen years later, in 2006, Peter Gelb, a former record company executive, succeeded him. As their paths crossed, there seemed to be no love lost. They traded barbs, and stories of behind-the-scenes friction circulated. But now the two men will again be working under the same roof. Mr. Gelb earlier this week hired his tough-minded predecessor to take the lead in critical labor negotiations. The contracts of the chorus, orchestra and stagehands—the most important of the Met’s 16 unions—expire just after the next season, and talks could start in the next few months. … In his many years as general manager, Mr. Volpe oversaw numerous negotiations, and he has an intimate understanding of the complicated interlocking union contracts, in which adding 15 minutes to a start time can cost thousands of dollars in overtime. … The Met had a deficit last year of $1 million on a budget of $282 million and expects to have a deficit of around $4 million on a similar, possibly larger, budget this year, Mr. Gelb said.”

Posted February 8, 2010