Just in: The Met strikes a deal with its orchestraNews
Agreement was reached today, but the Met says ‘the economic details of the new deal with the orchestra are not being provided’, so it’s all smoke, mirrors and face-saving for the moment.
The Met had been demanding a 30 percent pay cut. It didn’t get one. Three to four percent is more likely, we hear.
The musicians wanted compensation for a year without pay, also unlikely. It remains to be seen how many turn up for work next Monday.
Here’s the heavily-spun line from the Gelb machine.
New York, NY (August 24, 2021)—A new collective bargaining agreement between the Metropolitan Opera and its orchestra, the last of the Met’s three largest unions to reach an agreement, was ratified today. To commemorate the occasion, the Met has announced two free, pre-season performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” to take place in Damrosch Park at 8:00pm ET on Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct the Met Orchestra and Chorus, joined by soloists soprano Ying Fang and mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves.
While the economic details of the new deal with the orchestra are not being provided, there is now a clearer path to the opening of the Met’s 2021–22 season on September 27 with the scheduled Met premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which will be the first opera to appear on the Met’s stage in eighteen months. One part of the new agreement with the orchestra calls for the creation of an annual chamber music series of six concerts at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, also beginning this fall, with corresponding performances as part of Carnegie’s Citywide program of free concerts. The new series is an initiative of Mr. Nézet-Séguin, who was inspired by the orchestra’s entrepreneurial efforts during the long shutdown.
“The members of the Met’s great orchestra have been through Herculean challenges during the sixteen months of the shutdown, as we struggled to keep the company intact,” said Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager. “Now, we look forward to rebuilding and returning to action.”
“The pandemic has caused pain and suffering for so many people, and in ways that will remain forever. And while we as musicians cannot make that pain go away, our art form is special in that it can provide moments of healing and catharsis to a spirit in need,” said Mr. Nézet-Séguin. “To be able to perform Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony as the first performances back together with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus is not just a moment of revival for us, but a gift of hope and rebirth to New York City.”
The two Mahler performances are being made possible by generous donations from Met board members Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer and Ann Ziff for the members of the orchestra in honor of Mr. Nézet-Séguin, who had urged support for the orchestra during the period when they were unpaid. Mr. Nézet-Séguin holds the title of Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director.
Both concerts are free and open to the public, with approximately 2,500 seats set up next to the Metropolitan Opera House in Damrosch Park. General-admission seating will open ten minutes before each presentation on a first-come-first-served basis.