New York City's Metropolitan Opera reached a deal early Wednesday with its stagehands and said it expects to avert a lockout by reaching agreements with the remaining unions. The opera company said rehearsals will continue and the season will open as scheduled Sept. 22 with a new production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
Fifteen unions representing about 2,500 chorus singers, orchestra musicians, stagehands, carpenters and others had been negotiating on and off since February. Their contracts expired July 31. Met General Manager Peter Gelb had demanded pay cuts of about 17 percent, saying production costs had skyrocketed and the operatic art was in trouble, with shrinking audiences.
Union members said such a radical move was unwarranted, given the Met's $2.8 million deficit on a budget of $326 million.