Cher Public


UPDATE: The Met has reached tentative agreements with AGMA and Local 802. The contract deadline has been extended through midnight on Tuesday, August 19, to allow Local One and the other remaining unions with unsettled contracts more time to secure new deals with the institution.

Allison Beck, Deputy Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), issued the following statement this morning on tentative agreements between the Metropolitan Opera and two of its largest unions, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA):

I am pleased to announce that after many hours of intense negotiations, representatives of the Metropolitan Opera, Local 802 and AGMA have reached tentative agreements. These agreements are subject to ratification. Federal mediators joined the negotiations in response to a joint request for assistance from the parties.

These were difficult and highly complex negotiations, and I wish to commend the parties for their resolve in addressing multiple and complex issues. We are grateful for their commitment to the collective bargaining process and grateful most of all that the Metropolitan Opera, one of the world’s premier cultural institutions, will continue providing outstanding operas for all to enjoy.

I also wish to thank Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb, Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi, and AGMA Executive Director Alan Gordon for their cooperation in working with FMCS. Their leadership was vital to achieving this successful outcome. On a personal note, I thank my colleague, FMCS Commissioner Kathleen Murray-Cannon, for her extraordinary contribution to this result.

PREVIOUSLY: Met workers are now told to phone afer 4:00 AM to find out if they’re working tomorrow later this morning.

Michael Cooper in the New York Times reports that although the lockout deadline has passed, the Met and unions are still talking. “A recorded message to update workers at the opera house asked them to check back after 3 a.m. on Monday to see if they would have to report for work.”

WSJ‘s Jennifer Maloney tweets “@MetOpera talks are going down to the wire. Phone number for union members to call for lockout updates says to check back in after 3 a.m.”

Watch this space for updates.

  • ML

    It’s looking good — that they’re still talking. How can this not end positively?

    • operaassport

      It can not end positively if the deal reached is the same old, same old with new window dressing. It may open the season but a deal like that would not benefit the MET in the long run.

  • steveac10

    I would assume that deal or not, if they’re making concrete progress the lockout won’t happen. It’s in nobody’s best interest to shut things down.

  • ML

    Aretha and her teleprompters, trills and verismo *ornamentation* — what a scandal.

    • Those are not “teleprompters” but rather monitor speakers, placed so the singer can hear the orchestra. They are standard practice in any sort of amplified music. This applies particularly to the various genres of pop music because ensemble there is achieved aurally: there is no conductor.

      • ML

        Interesting. She is a marvel no matter how she works!

  • Hippolyte

    Per NYTimes, a tentative deal has been reached between MET and the orchestra and chorus early Monday AM:

    • ML

      Brava, Allison Beck of the Federal Government!

  • CurlyOperaGal

    For what it’s worth, a friend of mine in the chorus posted to Facebook about an hour ago that there was no lockout and he would be going back to work.

  • DeepSouthSenior

    Next up: Swarming little devils hatched by the details.

    • ML

      You’re right!

  • Krunoslav

    Just as long as we’re getting our long-dreamt of season of Christine Rice!

    • davidzalden

      I know it’s a running gag here, and it’s always great to have a chuckle, but I am mystified by the animosity towards Christine Rice. I have worked with her for years in Munich, Antwerp and at ENO, usually Handel, and she is really a pretty special artist. Her Zenobia in my Radamisto was subtle, fiery, vulnerable — really unforgettable. She was amazing as Marguerite in the Terry Gilliam Damnation of Faust at ENO. I could name many more but I will desist. Yes, there are many fine American mezzos and maybe one of them should be singing Hansel at the Met this season, but Christine is a very fine singer and actress and much too good to be used merely as a punchline.

  • arepo

    It’s all just fun(?) and games.
    We’ll have our Met opera.

  • The deal is done (at least in principle).

  • DeepSouthSenior

    From the Met website:

    “Update on Met Union Negotiations
    August 18, 2014

    We are pleased to announce that earlier this morning the Met successfully reached new agreements with the Met orchestra and chorus. The company has extended the deadline through midnight on Tuesday, August 19, to allow Local One and the other remaining unions with unsettled contracts more time to secure new deals with the institution. We remain hopeful that the company’s 2014–15 season will open on schedule. Thank you for your support of the Met.”

    • leonora3

      We hope it will open as it was planned. Otherwise Met’s reputation and responsibility towards audience will be ruined for very long and will cost much more efforts to restore it than to find agreement right now before season.
      There are people who already bought subscription and tickets for the first weeks of the season.
      I know that it is just my personal problem: I have bought a ticket for opening night and performances of the first week plus a round trip -- transatlantic flight from Europe.
      I read about a threat of lockout but simply didn’t believe it could happen. If it does it’ll be the deepest disapoinment and I believe not only mine but all Met fans.

  • Gualtier M

    Met press release:
    “Please be aware that the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) will be issuing a statement momentarily announcing that the Met has reached agreements with two of its largest unions, AGMA and Local 802.

    In addition, the Met announced that the contract deadline has been extended through midnight on Tuesday, August 19, to allow Local One and the other remaining unions with unsettled contracts more time to secure new deals with the institution.”

    Local One which is the stagehands union I think is going to be a tough battle and that is where the blood may be spilt.

    • tatiana

      I agree with Gualtier. This will be the toughest loop to close, if indeed it can be done.

    • operaassport

      I think you’re right. They’re even more intransigent than AGMA.

      • Jamie01

        AGMA reached a deal. How exactly does that make them intransigent?

        • Now, be nice. It can’t be easy trying to find a dark cloud in front of this silver lining.

        • In the world of facts, some people are no more than tourists; or better, documentary makers whose motto is not to get involved with the subjects.

  • Guess which dyspeptic “journalist” has suddenly gone silent now that the Met has announced a contract deal.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      The headline from the “dyspeptic ‘journalist'” reads, “Met cuts deal with unions. Musicians quietly pleased.” Which being translated means, “Met cuts deal with unions. Dyspeptic ‘journalist’ quietly displeased.”

      • La Cieca is quietly pleased the the dyspeptic “journalist” reads so faithfully that he rushed a post onto his site within 10 minutes after the above mockery was posted here. What he wrote is utter uncited balderdash, of course, but in other news, it’s Monday.

        • ML

          He never mentions Parterre, sees his oyster differently.

          • He never mentions Parterre

            Particularly when he picks up a story from this site.

            • Flora del Rio Grande

              Lebrecht must have eaten a large quantity of bad oysters several decades ago and I suggest he has never recovered from them. What a dreary old man he is. Ultimately, sad.
              I had the weird experience of interviewing him years ago and found him endlessly disputative and rather ill-tempered. He explained to me he was trained as a Rabbi but never much served as such. I suppose he found the rules and regulations of religious service rather constraining; he would not explain why he left off being a Rabbi and went into music journalism, but based on what I saw of his personality, one can guess.
              Yet he’s not all bad; some of his books have contained valuable insights on conductors and others; I rather like his devil-may-care attitude, now and then, on taking down icons. He certainly did a number on Bernstein.

            • ML

              You may have a point there.

            • ML

              @ Flora, West of the Pecos, he is who he is, but you must give him credit for creating and operating at no charge the world’s busiest, broadest and (often) fastest source of news on classical music and opera. When he is gone, Slipped Disc is what people will remember.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Lebrecht earlier today wrote about Domingo’s cancellation of the remaining Salzburg TROVATORE performances: “The septuagenarian singer is suffering from a bladder infection, accompanied by a respiratory tract disorder. He is running a high fever.
    The Polish baritone Artur Rucinski takes over his role for the rest of Il Trovatore.”

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        • Porgy Amor

          This is very elegant.

          Watch your back, Kwiecien!

          • Flora del Rio Grande

            Lovely! He’s a bit of a sweet young thing for that big Verdi,
            but he can sing a fine piano tone, has long breath and knows
            phrasing and legato. I agree, he is elegant. And he is in much
            better estate than Marius, though maybe much younger? M. K.
            can sound like this at moments (“Contessa perdono…”), but this
            man seems to have the more beautiful tonal gift, and he does
            not shout like M.K. Good range: I’d like to hear him put a touch
            more Leonard Warren into his top notes -- who wouldn’t?
            I hope he stays away from the Met, San Carlos and all those big
            voice-killing spaces. Here he does not push and that is one reason
            for the elegance! It seems a nice voice for French melodies!

            • ML

              Elegant is right. He sang a warm, heartfelt Onegin in Munich in January, when Kirill Petrenko led Warlikowski’s gay staging. We went twice, and it held up amid four Forzas. Feldmarschallin must have heard the same run. Although ????? ?? ????? (Kogda bi zhizn) was gracefully phrased and powerful, really the highlight of the evening, for some reason it did not elicit much applause. The Lensky, Edgaras Montvidas, made a positive impression too. He and Opolais (a mostly effective Tatiana) are more visually attractive than Rucinski, who is not all that young, methinks.

            • ML

              What San Carlos? Not Napoli?

          • Rowna

            According to Wikpedia, he is 39. Kwiecen is 4 years older. Not much age difference. But pointing out the large houses and what they do to voices is a very valid point.

            • Flora del Rio Grande

              Yes, Rowna; thank you. Yes, ML: Napoli! San Carlos is generally considered the largest opera house in Europe, though the London Colosseum somehow strikes me as the larger barn — so many square meters of air space to fill.

            • Krunoslav

              Here I thought the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw was the largest opera theater in Europe. Maybe that means its stage per se.

            • ML

              There are different measures of size, I suppose, but the Teatro di San Carlo as I recall from visits in 2009 and 2011 is remarkable for its historical role as architectural model, for its blueness, and for beauty, and Palermo’s Massimo and Milan’s Scala strike me as comparable in size, along with the Coliseum. Certainly none of them measure up to the Met. Or, I can’t imagine anyone damaging a voice due to the size of the Naples opera house.

  • mozartFreak

    This may be premature, but I’m very happy to have been wrong about a lockout. Lockouts hurt everyone. Hoping Local 1 will settle soon.

    • ML


  • Constantine A. Papas

    Greece, with all its problem, has followed the Met’s situation with anxiety. I was informed yesterday, that the Met HDs are sold out in advance, not only in Athens but also in all the provinces. And some wait in line for hours, hoping for a no-show ticket holder.

    • DeepSouthSenior

      I’ve written before that the theatre I attend for Live in HD -- Cinemark in Gulfport, MS -- averages only 25-30 for each broadcast. (Post-Super Bowl Renee in Rusalka did manage to double that, however.) What a contrast. And with two universities, one with an excellent music program and the other with a good one, only sixty miles away. Very sad.

      • ML

        Oh, deeeep south. Wow. I remember all those Hunter fans and metal Carriers in the windows! Good times.

        • DeepSouthSenior

          Right. That was about twelve years ago, when we got electricity. Now we have have something that cools the entire house, with a big thing outside.

          • mirywi

            The packed down red dirt floors help keep our houses cooler too.

      • laddie

        I would think those University types probably download or Youtube, watch it on their TVs with friends and in their own time. Much better than the local Cinemark with it’s nasty popcorn and equally nasty hot dogs at 11 in the morning (or in my case 10 am).

  • Completely off topic. I’m listening to Pagliacci from 1975 at the Met with Anna Moffo. Oh. My. God! So bad.

    • Bill

      Sanford -- 1975 was simply too late for Anna Moffo.
      About that year she sang Fille du Regiment in
      Pittsburgh and while she could still more or less
      sing the highest notes, her middle register was
      in absolute tatters. That said, Moffo was a wonderful singer earlier and one could marvel
      at her Violetta, Lucia etc. during the years of her prime.

      • Oh, I know. She’s my favorite singer of all time. It is amazing that the top stayed true but the middle failed her.

    • il Rogo

      Fie!! Why take time to kick a dead soprano who showed up to do her job even though she wasn’t at her best? When she was at her best, and I saw her in many roles, she was sensational.

  • papopera