World Socialist Web Site wsws.org 22 Mar, 2021 23:45 am

Met Opera musicians in New York City accept deal for partial paychecks

The days when classical music or other performing arts could be viewed as in some way sheltered from the class struggle raging outside the concert hall have well and truly disappeared.

The musicians of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in New York City agreed last week to a deal that will provide partial paychecks for the first time in almost a year, in exchange for their return to the bargaining table, where they face further pressure to accept drastic and permanent concessions.The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, right next to the Met in the Lincoln Center performing arts complex, agreed some months ago to a cut in pay of 25 percent, through August 2023, nearly two and a half years from now.Musicians at the New York City Ballet, also at Lincoln Center, have not been paid since last June.According to a report in the New York Times, 40 percent of them have moved out of New York, while 10 out of 97, or more than 10 percent, have opted to retire.

These are the conditions that led world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti, who has often conducted in New York and is the former principal conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, to issue a statement two months ago that said, in part, “The artistic world is in disbelief that the very existence of a great Orchestra like the Met’s could be in danger and even at the risk of disappearing.Mercedes Bass (vice-chair of the board) has homes in New York, Fort Worth and Aspen, Colorado.

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