Met Opera Lays Off All Union Employees, Including Musicians and Chorus
Because of the virus pandemic, the Metropolitan Opera announced today that the company has canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 season, which was to have ended on May 9, 2020. This includes all performances and Live in HD transmissions. (The Met had previously announced that performances through March 31, 2020, would be canceled.)
Met General Manager Peter Gelb said, "As devastating as it is to have to close the Met, this was the rare instance where the show simply couldn't go on. We send our thanks to our loyal audiences and we're doing our best to support our employees during this extraordinarily difficult time. We look forward to being reunited in the fall with a new season."
The Met's full-time union employees have been offered pay through March, with health care coverage continuing throughout the crisis. The higher paid members of the company's administrative staff are taking reductions in their pay, with Mr. Gelb waiving his entire salary.
An emergency fundraising drive is being instituted to deal with the large loss of box office and other earned revenues caused by the canceled performances and scheduled movie-theater transmissions. "The money we raise will help ensure that the Met will return, so that our artists and company members will once again be able to perform in our house," said Mr. Gelb.
The Met will continue to stream free encore presentations from its archive of Live in HD performances on the company website and its various platforms. The schedule of "Nightly Met Opera Streams" will be updated weekly on the Met's website. "Next week's schedule of transmissions is all Wagner, with fitting themes of destruction and redemption," said Mr. Gelb.
For information on how to donate tickets or to receive refunds or exchanges, please go to metopera.org/updates or call Met Customer Care at 212.362.6000.
The Met is reportedly the US' largest performing arts organization.