Cher Public

So sleepy

Oh, Christ, can you fucking believe a spokesperson for the Met chorus is still clanking on about the price of the poppy field in Prince Igor? [Wall Street Journal]

  • armerjacquino

    Am I reading it wrong? The spokesperson doesn’t mention the poppy field- it’s part of a section about the PRINCE IGOR budget breakdown as released by the Met.

    • “Union members have argued that the Met should have bought basic artificial flowers, rather than fabricating them in-house.”

      • incurvar la schiena

        In fairness, this seems like the WSJ bringing it up more than the spokesperson bringing it up.

        • Yes, the spokesperson limits herself to mouthing unsupported hearsay.

          • incurvar la schiena

            Perhaps she was referring more to the Ring than Prince Igor--pretty difficult to tell from that quote. It’s a little harsh to accuse a person quoted by a journalist of failing to support her position when said person is being selectively quoted by said journalist.

            • Or maybe she was condemning apartheid. Silly to expect a spokesperson to speak clearly, isn’t it?

      • Salome Where She Danced

        You can “basic artificial flowers” cheap at Hobby Lobby. Except on Sunday.

      • steveac10

        Interesting that an AGMA member would criticize the use of in house union labor rather than some 10 year olds in a third world sweatshop to make the poppies as an unnecessary expense, but nobody bats an eye that many of the costumes were made out of the country to save money, thus depriving other Met employees (or at least local union garment workers) of income. It seems to me AGMA is viewing themselves as first among equals in these negotiations.

        • bluecabochon

          Hear, hear, steveac10. Most of the Met’s costumes for new productions are outsourced.

  • Krunoslav

    Alas, I bet we’ll never see Tcherniakov again at the Met. “Difficult.”

    And that means more ENO downloading and Shershchina…

    • Well, after all, he spent all that money on poppies that could be paid to choristers for changing their clothes.

      • Krunoslav

        I am lamenting that the perception the Met seems publicly to want to give us is that Tcherniakov was ‘demanding”- like Peter Stein- so that they can move on and give us a Jeremy Sams- helmed KHOVANSHCHINA.

        Dosifei: “What is that yearning? Why aren’t we burning?”

        Maybe Broadway’s Betsy Wolfe as The Persian Slave Girl?

        • I honestly think you’re reading this wrong: what I get is that the Met is saying Tcherniakov is an important artist with very high standards the Met does its best to meet, and that meeting those standards means spending some money, not buying plastic poppies at the 99 cent store and hot-gluing them to drinking straws, which is apparently AGMA’s idea of what scenic design consists of.

          • Krunoslav

            Well, I *hope* they feel that way. I have heard some other company rumblings, though, and can’t help be struck how the company seems to favor anglophone clever-clever directors…

            • Well, the Met is not alone among New York cultural institutions in being bamboozed by Oxbridge.

            • Krunoslav

              True, but BAM at least shows work by Asian, African and Latin American directors, plus Swedes, Austrians, Dutch, Italians, Czech artists, etc, besides jobbing in the latest “triumph” of Fiona Shaw.

            • manou

              Oxbridge is indeed renowned for its alcoholic excesses:

              http://tinyurl.com/m25zp2o

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well I do wonder if Gelb even knows people like Warlikowski, Breth, Kriegenburg, Bieto or van Hove to name just a few. We won’t even bother with Neuenfels or Konwitschny who might not want to travel anymore.

            • oedipe

              You people have a chip on your shoulder. You see problems where there are none. The reason why the Met favors British talent is because it is objectively superior to everything else.

            • Gelb has indicated that Bieito has at least been approached to direct at the Met, and the Herheim debut is scheduled (a long way away, and a decade later than ideal, but still.)

              Part of the problem is that when Gelb does decide to go after an important director, there’s all this bullshit about artificial flowers to have to address. AGMA’s philistinism reflects very badly on the Met.

            • Feldmarschallin

              Well lets hope the Herheim Meistersinger doesn’t vanish like the Kusej Forza and there were concrete plans for that since in last years BSO yearbook it clearly stated that the production was to be a co-production with the Met. I guess Gelb thought it too radical after having seen it I assume.

            • grimoaldo

              “he Kusej Forza and there were concrete plans for that since in last years BSO yearbook it clearly stated that the production was to be a co-production with the Met. I guess Gelb thought it too radical after having seen it I assume.”

              I thought the thing with that was that when Harteros said she would not travel to NY to be in it, it was cancelled.

            • Regina delle fate

              Grim -- that figures. It’s hard to imagine that production without Harteros. Rad could probably sing it, Popsy almost certainly could not. And, sadly, I doubt whether Kusej would take either of the two LMs.

            • CwbyLA

              Who is the other LM?

            • Krunoslav

              “Who is the other LM?”

              Luisa Malagrida
              Ljiljana Molnar-Talajic

            • manou

              Latonia Moore
              Liudmyla Monastyrska

          • messa di voce

            “plastic poppies at the 99 cent store and hot-gluing them to drinking straws”

            But that worked so well in the Schenk Parsifal.

            • Of course, the thing is, that Schenk production cost a fortune, but because it was done in the style of the Golden Book of Knowledge circa 1910, nobody minded. Not even when all those espensive spring-loaded poppies had to be 86ed from the set after the first season’s guffaws during the Good Friday Spell.

            • Krunoslav
            • Feldmarschallin

              No she has told them for years now that she cannot travel to New York. That Forza was planned after she cancelled the Ernani(she decided against singing the role), Trovatore and Arabella and that was at least 3 years ago. Now if Gelb thought he could entice her that is something else but she clearly stated that New York is not possible. The last signed contract with the Met was the Arabella. She had have offers after that for Manon Lescaut and Norma.

            • bythesea

              Re the BSO Forza Feldmarschallin says:
              “I guess Gelb thought it too radical after having seen it I assume.”

              Perhaps he thought it was just too ugly.

          • messa di voce

            Old, tired productions for old, tired choristers.

            • RudigerVT

              I think that is unfair, unkind, but more’s the point, inaccurate--at least today.

              Who can forget the chorus’s ‘contribution’ to the centennial gala, the Mascagni Hymn to the Sun. While they sounded better than that, in the house, back then, TV and radio were most unflattering, because too many of them were just too old for the job.

              Since then, there’s been significant changes (didn’t a lot of contracts get bought out?) and the last few times I’ve heard them, I think that they have sounded terrific.

          • Grane

            If they’re serious about cost control they should go around stealing those wire ones from the veterans.

            • Grane

              I mean the poppies of course. Comment fetched up in the wrong place.

        • grimoaldo

          “a Jeremy Sams- helmed KHOVANSHCHINA.

          Dosifei: “What is that yearning? Why aren’t we burning?”

          Maybe Broadway’s Betsy Wolfe as The Persian Slave Girl?”

          hahahahaha
          Bravo

          • Regina delle fate

            Sams has just directed what sounds like a “fairy-tale” Peter Grimes at Grange Park Opera…..

    • Feldmarschallin

      Why difficult? He is doing Lulu here next season and going to Berlin to see his new Parsifal which will be I believe his first Wagner opera. He has done two productions here already and I doubt if he is that difficult he would have been asked back by Bachler nor I have I heard anything from the house regarding him. Well the Met always has Sher who seems to the the preferred man anyway there.

      • CarlottaBorromeo

        No -- he directed Tristan in St Petersburg about ten years ago

      • Regina delle fate

        Sher is all Oxbridge’s fault, of course…..

  • I do not think they are trying to make Tcherniakov look difficult. They are trying to make themselves look tough by explaining that they did not give in to all of his demands and convinced him to make changes to meet budget contraints, that did not compromise his artistic vision.

  • Gualtier M

    Bobby Darin testifies before AGMA:

  • alejandro

    Interesting that they had to scrap an additional video, because one of my pet peeves about that production is the concept of video is introduced and then doesn’t ever come back. I wanted another video to help make that design element feel whole.

    I also would have liked to have seen the original design for the cityscape. I found the great hall utilitarian at first--although I loved when it was destroyed at the end. That was such an emotionally striking image.

  • redbear

    This is not high science. Receipts are funds you get from ticket sales, donors, etc. Expenditures are what you spend money on. The Met’s receipts (mostly due to audience decline) are less. Yet the Met’s production costs are up, way up. Gelb has been importing a larger number of expensive productions and his HD broadcasts have certainly added time and expenses plus the unionized people who work at the Met have salaries that people in the same position in Paris, Vienna or London can only dream about. Obviously needed: (1) sacrifices by unions to reduce overhead and, (2) a new manager who understands basic math. Chances of either: Zero.
    Where are the board of directors, most of them with backgrounds showing dynamic leadership? Every year the same facts: receipts down, expenditures up until finally its crisis time.

    • The Met’s receipts have gone up every single year. There has been a slight decline in box office, more than offset by increased contributions, over the last couple of years.

      The cost of new productions is around 7% of the Met’s annual budget.

      You’re right: this is not high science, at least not the way you manage to misunderstand it?

      • imhere

        If you count just wood and glue then 7% may be right. If you add in the labor needed to build a new production (or fix ENO’s mess) and the added operational costs for a new show, that takes up the stage for 3 weeks of technical and cast rehearsals, then that 7% goes up significantly to the actual number. The problem the Met finds itself in has to do with operational costs which have skyrocketed under Mr. Gelb. When hourly wages are pretty stagnant but employees are making more year over year, then it’s a management issue.
        As for the slight decline at the box office, it’s hard to imagine that it’s really that slight when there are stacks of free tickets given out regularly to the company these days. It used to be rare, now it’s scary.

        • The WSJ piece, talking about the Prince Igor production, included labor costs (including those for extra supers and dancers) as part of the budget for that show. Igor ended up costing a little over $4 million, a relatively expensive production. So the approximately $21 million the Met reports for new productions would seem to include the same budget items as the Igor, e.g., labor, not just “wood and glue.”

          God forbid an opera house should have technical and cast rehearsals, after all: isn’t the point of an opera company just singing and paying the chorus as much as possible?

          • imhere

            The point is it takes about 80% more stage time and the costs that go with it to mount a new production.
            If you love lots of new productions and specifically the ones the current administration has offered up, then it’s obviously your opinion that Gelb is doing a great job and the money problems are the fault of the unions.
            I will pose one question though; if you got a 2% raise but made 10% more would that be your fault or your manager’s?

            • I would first question the wisdom of someone who defined making 10% more money in a lousy economy as a “fault.”

              If AGMA has sent you here to advocate for them, then they need to get better shills who actually have a grasp of the facts.

            • imhere

              Not affiliated with AGMa at al, I assure you. If you would like to discuss my grasp of the real facts give me your extension in the building and I’ll give you a call.

            • I don’t care to be stalked, thank you. You have my email address if you care to share more information.

              Now, how about addressing the fact that successive contracts over the course of the past 30 years have redefined work rules so that fewer and fewer services are required as part of the basic “hourly” package, and more and more time accrues as overtime?

            • imhere

              I asked a simple question that you made a joke of and moved on. Why should I answer yours? I understand that this sight is mostly comedy, but the people that you believe should just cut their pay 15-40%, so Gelb can continue his spending spree until there is nothing left. probably don’t feel much like laughing.

            • I wasn’t joking. I’m not giving my phone number to a total stranger who may or may not have knowledge he pretends to have. If you are willing to go on the record, I am willing to listen. Otherwise, you’re an anonymous crank with an ax to grind (possibly: even your ax-grinding status is unclear).

            • imhere

              I don’t want your number.. That was a joke about you being an insider. The question is if you got a 2% raise and your pay increased by 10%, because of an increased workload, are you the bad guy? That is precisely what has happened since Gelb took over

            • imhere

              The man is not a manager!

            • I find it very odd that throughout this dispute, whenever someone wants to criticise Gelb’s desire to lower the Met’s labour costs, they point out how he has increased spending by such huge amounts. Indeed, he has increased spending by some 50% (approx. $100M).

              However, if labour costs account for two-thirds of the Met’s budget, doesn’t it follow that approx. two-thirds of the additional $100M that Gelb is spending goes towards labour? People seem to want to suggest that the increased costs are going to frilly new productions but if the Met’s operating costs are $100M than when Gelb started, then most of that spending has gone towards paying labour salaries.

          • 98rsd

            I find the change in attitude regarding the pay of unionized workers at Lincoln Center surprising, if gratifying.

            When NYC Opera was being lambasted here for leaving Lincoln Center because it was too expensive, I brought up the income of stagehands as one of the (admittedly many) problems. I got the Marie Antoinette treatment.

            Unions are a great thing, but in NYC they are often abusive. Ask anyone who’s ever had to deal with a show at the Javits Center.

      • Flora Amici

        Also not high science- if you take the reported income of a MET chorister (200K) and assume
        that every single chorister makes that and multiply by 80 members, you get about about 5.5% of a 310M budget.

        • steveac10

          It’s even more than that -- when you factor in a Cadillac health care plan and a pension the likes of which hasn’t been seen for 20 or 30 years in the private sector, it’s closer to $300k per chorister. I would also guess that does not include the “steady extras” who only appear in the big chorus shows or during periods of the season where there are full chorus shows for most of the week. Then there are the work rules, which as our doyenne has pointed out became increasingly lucrative during the Volpe years.

          New York performing arts unions have been particularly successful on that front over the last 30 or so years. It gets ridiculous in some cases. If you want to do a “straight” play in some Broadway houses you have to pay a certain number of musicians whether you need them or not. Each theater has a minimum quota of stage hands and musicians. Some of the rules border on the insane.

      • redbear

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/metropolitan-opera-pay-cut_n_5365215.html
        “The Metropolitan Opera is facing one of the biggest financial challenges in its 131 year history,” the Met said in a statement.
        Falling attendance:
        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/arts/music/met-opera-reports-falling-attendance.html?_r=0
        And, if you look at the following document:
        http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/arts/disclosure_doc.pdf
        you will see that, from 2008-09 to 2012-13, the total operating expenses have increased 17%. And, in that same document there is an amount that offsets that operating expense growth. That is called “Contributions and Bequests, Including Net Assets Released From Restrictions.” If you have no idea what those last five words means, maybe you should ask someone who can explain it to you. Here is a hint from the Huffington article: “The Met said that the organization’s annual operating budget is now larger than its endowment.”
        Did you forget the 100 million in bonds (another word for “loan”) that the Met took out a year or so ago?

        • figaroindy

          Good points -- I think it makes it clear that expense cuts need to occur across the board -- sadly, that still means AGMA needs to take their hit, too, not just try to suck some other line item in the budget dry while refusing to be a part of the solution.

          • operaassport

            AGMA needs to take the biggest hit for the simple fact that costs associated with them are the largest part of the budget. It’s simple math.

  • figaroindy

    Gee, the way I read this, the Met budgeted $3.8M, designer came in at $5M, and the Met carefully managed costs and the designer, to bring the production in at $4.3M, of which almost $0.8M was already subsidized by the coproducer, leaving the opera BELOW budget by $0.3M.

    Meanwhile, while everyone would like to complain about the cost of the Ring production, they can’t because it was funded entirely by a gift of $20M, no doubt earmarked for that purpose only, so it wouldn’t have helped to cut on that production at all, unless the overage of the gift could be kept by the Met, which we don’t know. The donor may well have said, I will cover the costs of the Ring Cycle….less costs = less gift.

    All of this continues to seem like finger pointing, and as long as AGMA keeps pointing at everyone else, I don’t know why they expect everyone else to NOT point at them!

  • Satisfied

    Just curious:

    While I personally feel Tcherniakov’s work was a complete success and I would love to see his return to the Met (alas, after this article, I’m less hopeful that he ever will), I wonder if he is usually afforded such a large budget from other companies he works/has worked with?

    • Paris perhaps? Just think how much that field of flowers in Carsen’s Boréades must have cost, and nobody here moaned about that!

    • Regina delle fate

      Well, I only saw the live in HD Igor, but it looked a damned sight more expensive than the ENO/Munich Boccanegra. I doubt if Aix-en-Provence can afford $4m for a show, either. From what I’ve read, the Amsterdam/Barcelona Invisible City of Kitezh was very lavish. FM has probably seen more Tcherniakov than most of us, so maybe he has a handle on this.

    • redbear

      Funny but everywhere in Europe the intendants constantly complain about the flat budgets. Dominique Meyer (VSO) has threatened to resign if his budget is not increased to that the cost of living expense doesn’t cut into the budget even more. As far as I can see, the Met is the only major company in the world that has increases like we have seen. While it apparently is a secret, it is clear that they are tapping their endowment, like NYCO did. Also, institutes who track charitable contributions have all seen a dip in donations to arts groups, performing arts in particular. The Met has been, for years, moving in a risky direction (to attract audiences?) and it, by any measure, is not working.

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    Spoiler: blasphemy follows. After the long, hideous death of NYCO (and from the perspective of someone who grew up in NYC in the early 1970s), could the death of the Met be a reality? Would it even be all that bad? What would they ever do with that ludicrously over-sized theater, the décor of which an architect friend referred to as “Montana Whorehouse?” A home for Cirque du Soleil? Perhaps a permanent home for ABT and other visiting dance (and international opera) companies, as the New York State Theater (I adamantly refuse to call it anything else) has become – as was intended all along – a home for New York City Ballet (it is no secret that the theater was planned by Balanchine and Philip Johnson specifically for dance, before one of The Hideous Koch Brothers altered its perfect architecture and outright bought the name of New York State)? Is there a chance that the Metropolitan Opera Company might do better in a smaller venue – either a newly-built theater (unlikely!) someplace in an extant theater “off campus?” BAM would seem to me (from the perspective of Central Europe) an excellent alternative. I have always been appalled by the size of the Met – as an audience member and in consideration of its singers – and would not mourn its demise in its current incarnation. But then, I am totally spoiled by, for instance, Theater an der Wien, an at-most 1,000-seat house (depending on the size of the required orchestra) which rarely runs a production for more than six (sold-out) fully-staged performances per month year-round with world-class singers, orchestras (appropriate to the period of the opera), conductors, and the best directors/designers the world has to offer, with rarely-staged, obscure operas (baroque to 21st century) presented in concert with world-class singers and orchestras in recitals/concerts on the non-staged-opera nights. I am, quite frankly, totally sick of hearing about both “sides” of the Met “negotiations” and the monetary size thereof, and I could care less! I have never been to one of the Met HD extravaganzas (which are shown in a few cinemas in Wien, but not close enough for me to care) and have not missed anything that I could not eventually get on DVD or YouTube or an admittedly illegal download. Maybe the Met should just become a movie studio, presenting opera the way the American Film Theatre attempted (and occasionally succeeded; just see its astounding, definitive John Frankenheimer production of “The Iceman Cometh” – available on DVD) in bringing the best of American and British theater to American cinemas for a brief period in the 1970s (e.g. Katharine Hepburn in “The Madwoman of Chaillot”).

    I need to shut up now.

    • Ewige Nacht

      Lincoln Center was built in a marginal neighborhood. Now that the area has been gentrified and is quite posh, why not convert all of that lovely real estate into high-priced condos and be done with all of the discussion of who is at fault for the Met’s difficulties?

  • Camille

    Jungferissima—i saw this and thought of you. Perhaps it may be of interest.

    http://www.nybooks.com/events/horses-mouth-weekend-celebrating-frederic-franklin/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=May+30+2014&utm_content=May+30+2014+CID_aed4208bd63d5bbcc85cdc835f6a3b98&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Frederic%20Franklin

    Our former correspondant, the much missed ERCOLE FARNESE thought very highly of Maria Agresta and heard her sing Anna Bolena about the same time as Netrebko’s assumption of the role and said he preferred Agresta. Just to give you some inkling.

    Thanks for all your great great wonderful operas. You are so wonderful.

    Love
    Me

    • Regina delle fate

      What happened to Ercole, Madama Camiknickers?

      • Camille

        Egregia e cara Regina delle Fate,
        Before I get busy and further delay sets in let me answer your query.

        Ercole Farnese returned to Italy about three years ago and has written at times for Opera Brittanica, I believe that is the name.

        Perhaps there is a very faint possibility he may materialise at the Mariella Devia manifestation this coming Thursday at Carnegie Hall, in the OONY Roberto Devereux, or that is my fond hope. I miss him very much, as he was un cavaliere ed un gentiluomo, and spoke perfect and refined belcanto.

        I must deeply genuflect in your direction for having introduced the term “camiknickers” into my world. Heretofore, I had known them only as “French knickers”—not really the same article at all, but how it is translated into Yankee.

        All my life I have been given nicknames and “Camiknickers” is the first and only one which I have truly delighted in, for it truly reflects my æsthetic. Thank you so very much!

        Sincerely —

        Madame Camiknickers!

  • mozartFreak

    Doesn’t anyone get it? The $169,000 poppies are emblematic of all that is wasteful with Gelb’s management of the Met. Remember the the film “Mister Roberts”? The tyrannical, oppressive ship’s captain had a prized palm tree that—for the crew—became a symbol of all that was oppressive in his command. Please note: if each of the six new productions its own a “poppy field”, the cost would come to over one million.

    And by the way, Cieca. your 7% of the budget (cost of new productions) cannot possibly include extra rehearsals for chorus, and perhaps overtime work for other union workers as well. (Imagine all the extra tech rehearsals needed for La Machine du Lepage! Included in the production costs? NOT!) Whereas the Met’s superb orchestra can probably play “Prince Igor” magnificently with just four or five rehearsals (although six would be nice), the chorus needs musical rehearsals, plus blocking rehearsals, plus run-throughs, plus dress rehearsals. I well believe it when someone claiming to be a chorus member said that it was more than typical to have two rehearsals in the day and a performance in the evening. Of course, not every chorister is needed in every opera, but the potential exists for some chorus members to do 15-17 “services” (rehearsals OR performances) in a week. This gets very costly very quickly.

    It seems to me that the Met under Gelb is engaged in trying to run a “stagione” company—with six or even seven new productions a year and a number of significant revivals that involve more rehearsal and preparation—within a repertory company that does Aida, Boheme, Butterfly, Carmen, etc. year in and year out (with the repertory operas getting the minimum amount of rehearsal and preparation) The result: out of control labor costs.

    • Indiana Loiterer III

      It seems to me that the Met under Gelb is engaged in trying to run a “stagione” company—with six or even seven new productions a year and a number of significant revivals that involve more rehearsal and preparation—within a repertory company that does Aida, Boheme, Butterfly, Carmen, etc. year in and year out …

      But isn’t that inherent in the whole way the Met is set up, Gelb or no Gelb? At least since Rudolf Bing took over, the Met has always been run as a compromise between a stagione company and a repertory company.

    • Please note: if each of the six new productions its own a “poppy field”, the cost would come to over one million.

      Which would amount to .3 of 1% of the Met’s annual budget, or around a third of what James Levine took home from the Met last year.

      What is your solution: do the same five operas year after year in front of cardboard sets?

      The out of control labor costs have been going on for more than 30 years, essentially since the postponement of the season in 1980 so badly hurt Jimmy’s feelings that he threatened to hold his breath and throw all his hair ribbons on the floor unless the Met gave the unions everything they wanted in perpetuity. Now the Met’s board is beginning to complain that all those millions of dollars they throw at the company every years should be spent on actually, you know, doing opera, instead of funding gold-plated pensions to assure that when Met choristers retire in early middle age, they’ll never have to bother to work again.

      • steveac10

        Besides, out of control labor costs are exactly what AGMA does not want cut from the budget (at least not those related to the chorus, ballet and soloists that are actual employees of the company).

        Let them force the Met into the kind of disposable productions the second tier American houses like Minnesota and Pittsburgh build and share and see how long it takes for the uproar to begin.

        Part of the reason people go to the Met is for the spectacle. And spectacle on the cheap ain’t pretty. A $500k production might last 2 seasons before the sets hit the trash heap and the costumes that haven’t disintegrated get shifted to another show. A 3 or 4 million dollar production can last decades.

    • SilvestriWoman

      Honest question -- does the Met chorus have musical rehearsals? Some years ago, I heard that, since the Met season was so long, and the chorus schedule was so packed with staging rehearsals/performances, that choristers -- like orchestra members -- were required to prepare music on their own. This was in comparison with, say, San Francisco, where I believe the chorus has up to month of musical rehearsals, for all the choral music for the season, before having a staging rehearsal.

      Now, this was many years ago -- mid/late 90s? -- but I’d be interested to hear how much truth there is to this.

      • Chenier631

        The Met Opera chorus does in fact have musical rehearsals. Led by the chorus master, they run through operas already in the repertoire, and they rehearse operas new to them as well.
        The choristers do not have to learn the music on their own, but they are required to memorize the music on their own. Big difference.

        Chenier

  • figaroindy

    That ties into an interesting question of mine, SilvestriWoman….why do we hear about how the chorus only gets 2%, but then their “extra rehearsals” and “overtime” for new productions means they make 10% more? So, in other words, the earlier poster is correct when they say that the unions have pushed and pushed so that less and less work is required for the “base salary” and the extras are becoming larger and larger. So, it is then the unions causing the increase in expenses -- if they were doing a true salary position, extra work at times is included in the salary…but they’ve worked out a way to limit their work and then just load up the additional fees. And yet, they’ve always negotiated a raise, even if small at 2%, while continuing to limit what that salary covers….what a gig!

    So, of the 15% of the salary that may be cut (a number everyone is throwing around, even the AGMA supporters)…one AGMA supporter has already suggested that choristers might make as much as 10% of their salary on extras….without touching the salary…his numbers. Well, great, then let’s put them on a real salary, no raise, because the company didn’t do well (standard in normal corporations), and cut the overtime/extra pay crap….OK, just saved you 10%….let’s find some more waste!