From an open letter published today by the Metropolitan Opera Musicians:
The Met was able to trim $18M from its budget, the majority of which savings came from “management expenses,” and not from the players, singers, and craftspeople that make the Met the greatest opera house in the world.
Our contention all along has been that the Met’s budget grew needlessly large, and that it got that way because of wasteful spending and inefficient management. Therefore, we were certain that a more sustainable path could be found by focusing cost savings on management spending. These recent financial results prove that absolutely correct, and vindicate the imperative to preserve the artistic heart of the Met.
But while we are heartened by the recent financial news, we must remain vigilant, doing all we can to ensure the Met operates in a fiscally responsible manner while placing top priority on the highest artistic standards. Last summer, we wrote that “the Met’s finances will be subject to unprecedented oversight, with powerful new mechanisms put in place for enforcement and accountability…. An ‘Efficiency Task Force’…will have direct input on spending” in order to achieve the mandated $11.25M reduction in management expenses. It is due in part to the ceaseless vigilance of these union task force delegates that the Met balanced its budget. And we want our fans to understand that as we work tirelessly to present masterful musicianship, much work remains behind the curtains to ensure the music continues.
In the end, this progress is not just good for the MET Orchestra, Chorus, or even the entire Met Opera — it’s good for opera lovers the world over, because we are charting a more sustainable course for opera in the 21st century.