Met Faces Cuts; 2009-2010 Season Altered; Ticket Prices Will Not Increase

Classic Arts Features   Met Faces Cuts; 2009-2010 Season Altered; Ticket Prices Will Not Increase
In order to avoid a "disaster scenario" due to the current economic crisis, the Metropolitan Opera is facing major cuts and has replaced or canceled at least four productions in its upcoming 2009-2010 season.

As reported by the New York Times, the company's endowment of $300 million has dropped by a third, donations are down by $10 million this season and ticket sales are expected to be off by several million dollars from the projected figures.

Damage control is taking place in a number of arenas. General manager, Peter Gelb announced that he and other senior staff members have already taken a 10 percent pay cut and that the rest of the staff would do the same at the end of the fiscal year. Another approach is to appeal to all 16 of the unions that work within the Met, seeking to negotiate concessions.

"The economic crisis has had an effect on all cultural institutions, and the Met is no exception," Mr. Gelb said. "It's affected our endowment, it's affected our cash flow, it's affected our revenue streams. What we don't want is for it to affect our artistic productivity."

Good news for ticket-buyers is that the Met shot down a proposal for a cumulative 8% price increase. Tickets will remain priced from $15 to $375.

The upcoming season's lineup has been altered in the following ways:

- John Corigliano's Ghosts of Versailles has been replaced by La Traviata.

- A revival of Benvenuto Cellini by Berlioz has been canceled.

- Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District has been replaced by Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos.

- Strauss' Die Frau Ohne Schatten has been replaced by Elektra by the same composer.


New York City Opera, the Met's neighbor across Lincoln Plaza, suffered the abrupt Nov. 2008 departure of general director-designate G_rard Mortier. Dallas Opera general director was named as general manager and artistic director earlier this week. The company states that it will also seek union concessions.

Performing arts organizations all around the country are facing similar difficulties, and numerous regional theatre companies have shuttered in recent months.

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