New York City Opera Reaches Tentative Agreement With AGMA and Local 802

News   New York City Opera Reaches Tentative Agreement With AGMA and Local 802
AGMA and Local 802, the unions representing opera performers and professional musicians, respectively, have reached a tentative three-year contract agreement with New York City Opera, it was announced Jan. 18.

NYCO, under the leadership of general manager and artistic director George Steel, announced in May 2011 that it would vacate its permanent home since 1966 at Lincoln Center in order to streamline operating costs, opting instead to perform in venues across New York City. The move  will save the organization $4.5 million, according to a New York Times report.

Part of this measure meant that NYCO would hire performers and musicians per production, rather than retaining a salaried core basic chorus and orchestra. AGMA, which represents opera performers, has been in negotiations with NYCO for months over this proposed change in practice.

The lack of an agreement put the upcoming productions of La Traviata  (set to begin Feb. 12) and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna (Feb. 19) in jeopardy. The latest progress in contract negotiations permits rehearsals to begin today. The productions will play the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

NYCO and the unions state that the new agreement will retain the core basic orchestra and chorus, providing members with health insurance through at least January 2013, with a health-care contribution for every month worked thereafter. A labor-management committee will also be established to ensure transparency of artistic, planning and fundraising issues.

Additional NYCO seasonal plans include a late-summer production at the Public Theater's Delacorte Theater in Central Park, as well as Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte at the Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College in March and Georg Philipp Telemann's rarely-seen Orpheus will play El Museo Del Barrio in May.

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