Houston Grand Opera pledges to pay everyone half-wages

In the CV crisis, the HGO has taken a more socially responsible approach than the Met. Here’s what it tells Slipped Disc:

HGO is committed to supporting the artistic community, which is why we will be standing by our artists and paying 50% of their salaries. Everyone from our star performers to the ushers will be supported during this uncertain time. 

Perryn Leech, managing director of HGO states, “Most people who work on a production only get paid when there is a performance, no matter how much rehearsal or preparation goes into it. These people don’t have the luxury of other means of income or the stability of a regular monthly wage. Many of the artists and staff that help us bring outstanding productions to Houston, live on a very delicate financial ledge and HGO is committed to ensuring that they are compensated for the time they had given to us before the events of the world made it impossible to produce these operas.”

Full statement:
Houston – March 13, 2020— Houston Grand Opera (HGO) regrets to announce that all performances of Salome and
The Magic Flute, as well as all events associated, have been cancelled. Working in compliance with the
recommendations of the City of Houston and local health authorities, HGO has made this decision to cancel all events
to protect the health of its artists, staff, creative team, and audiences.
HGO is taking the lead in helping defray the impact that this cancellation has on the community of artists, musicians,
stagehands, and staff. From ushers to the star sopranos, HGO is committed to the livelihood of all those involved in
producing great opera in Houston.
“Opera companies exist to produce opera. It is an incredibly sad and uncertain time for so many artists and supporting
staff members as organizations across the world temporarily close their doors. At HGO, we have been here before and
will show our resilience once again with the support of our incredible community. The wellbeing of our audience and
staff remains our top priority and we certainly look forward to producing world class opera again when the current
crisis is over,” states HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech.
Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers adds, “In this tragic and uncertain time, we are heartbroken not to perform
the two operas of our Spring Repertoire, Salome and The Magic Flute. All our thoughts are on the health of our patrons
and the entire company of superb artisans who would have brought these works to life in Houston.”
Leech continues, “Most people who work on a production only get paid when there is a performance, no matter how
much rehearsal or preparation goes into it. These people don’t have the luxury of other means of income or the
stability of a regular monthly wage. Many of the artists and staff that help us bring outstanding productions to
Houston, live on a very delicate financial ledge and HGO is committed to ensuring that they are compensated for the
time they had given to us before the events of the world made it impossible to produce these operas.”
 

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  • MezzoLover says:

    This is no different than how Houstonians cope with any other disaster – take care of each other.

    Nicely done HGO!

  • V.Lind says:

    The Met is paying its employees (outside senior management) till the end of the month. Their health and insurance benefits will be maintained. How is this so much better than that? Companies are doing what they can.

    Houston is one of the richest cities in the US and the Opera company one of the richest also. You can bet they have more spare money than the Met.

    I think all this piling on against the Met is pretty unfair.

    • Jaura says:

      Ridiculous! Houston is certainly not more wealthy than New York! The Met board are largely stingy Republican billionaires.

  • WillymH says:

    Isn’t this a bit of an apples and oranges comparison? When did HGO become an operation on the scale of the MET? I wasn’t aware they had the same size staff, season, or operating expenses.

  • Greg Tiwidichitch says:

    Are they paying the orchestra members half salaries too??

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