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Home » Orchestra News » Metropolitan Opera Reaches Tentative Agreement

Metropolitan Opera Reaches Tentative Agreement


Musicians and management of The Metropolitan Opera reached a tentative agreement the morning of August 18 after an all-night bargaining session, avoiding a lockout threatened by opera management. Federal mediators stepped in late in July. In August, Eugene Kelin, co-founder of KPS Capital Partners, was brought in to conduct an independent financial analysis.

A tentative agreement was also reached with the Metropolitan Opera’s chorus, represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists. The Met must still reach an agreement with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), representing stagehands, carpenters, and electricians.

The Met initially proposed cuts of 17%, including changes to work rules regarding overtime pay. The Met stated that it was facing the biggest financial challenge in its history, with declining box-office income and rising labor costs. In recent years, it had become dependent on record-breaking fundraising and heavy spending from its endowment.

AFM Local 802 (New York City), among other unions, insisted that management could find other ways to cut costs and cited General Manager Peter Gelb’s spending and artistic decisions as the reasons for increased costs and declining ticket sales.

“After many hours of deliberation, we have reached a tentative agreement which is subject to the approval of Local 802’s executive board and ratification by the musicians,” says Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi.

“This tentative agreement averts a lockout and allows the musicians of the Met Orchestra to turn their attention to the season ahead. Throughout these negotiations, the musicians, along with AGMA, have raised recommendations regarding the best ways to achieve sustainable excellence at the Met, and we were able to negotiate contractual language regarding the need for the Met to reduce the expenses in their budget equal to the reductions received by the orchestra. We have agreed on an unprecedented mechanism for greater financial oversight of the Met going forward,” Gagliardi adds.

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