New York City Opera musicians, choristers offer to work for free

Posted on: November 8, 2011

Sunday (11/6) on the Wall Street Journal blog Metropolis, Jennifer Maloney reports, “New York City Opera choristers and orchestra members have offered to perform for free this season in exchange for health care and power over future venues, in a bid to stop the opera from eliminating their guaranteed employment. The offer comes in the midst of volatile contract negotiations between City Opera and its unions. The company, facing recurring deficits and a shrinking endowment, launched a plan earlier this year to leave its Lincoln Center home and slash its budget from $31 million to $13 million. The opera also eliminated more than a dozen staff and its music-director position.” Under the proposal, “union members would perform for free while keeping their current health benefits during the 2011-2012 season, which includes productions at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, John Jay College’s Gerald W. Lynch Theater and El Museo del Barrio. Under the proposal, the unions would then work with the opera’s general manager, George Steel, to select repertory and venues the following two seasons, and determine compensation for the musicians.”

Posted November 8, 2011