Op_ra de Montr_al Cuts Staff, Including General Manager, to Stay Afloat

Classic Arts News   Op_ra de Montr_al Cuts Staff, Including General Manager, to Stay Afloat
The Op_ra de Montr_al has announced major steps, including layoffs, it has taken to curtail its rising deficit and retain government funding.

The company's deficit is expected to reach $C2 million by the end of the fiscal year, according to spokesman Daniel Granger. He told PlaybillArts that 12 of the opera's 24 permanent employees, including general director David Moss and staff in marketing and customer service, have been laid off. Those in technical and production departments will stay.

Production manager Pierre Dufour, who has been with the company for nine years, will act as interim general director, but will not, according to Granger, take up the role permanently.

As previously reported, the company announced last month that Bernard Labadie, artistic director since 2003, will step down at the end of August. In a previous statement the company said "the current financial constraints of the Op_ra de Montr_al and more specifically their impact on the artistic project that attracted him to the Op_ra de Montr_al were important factors leading to his decision."

L'Op_ra de Montr_al, which was founded in 1980, canceled a staging of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms scheduled for last February because of the projected deficit. The company's four scheduled mainstage productions for the 2006-07 season, including house premieres of Puccini's Il tabarro and Delibes's Lakm_, will go ahead, however.

Granger said, "We want to reduce our costs and increase our revenues. We plan to raise more money from the private sector and hope to balance our budget and get back on track by next season."

A statement said "the board of directors would like to express its appreciation and gratitude for the remarkable work accomplished for almost four years by the Op_ra de Montr_al team lead by David Moss and Bernard Labadie. The decision to terminate the contract of the general director and several other managers and employees resulted from the necessity of significantly reducing operating costs."

The company intends to maintain a collaborative relationship with employees laid off and to call on them as required, according to Granger.

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