Scottish Opera's Comeback Threatened by Strike

Classic Arts News   Scottish Opera's Comeback Threatened by Strike
Scottish Opera's return to the stage has been complicated by the threat of a strike announced yesterday by BECTU, the broadcasting, cinema and theater union.

The company had dramatically reduced its 2005-06 season due to budget constraints, essentially agreeing to shut down for the season as part of a bailout deal with the Scottish Executive. It laid off half its staff in an attempt to pay multi-million debts.

Don Giovanni and Carmen, its first productions in nearly a year, are scheduled to take place later this month and June in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Those productions may now be jeopardized, as BECTU said its 35 members at the company had voted to strike on all dates when the productions are scheduled to run at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow and at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

BECTU official Willy Donaghy said in a statement SO had tried to "bully" members into signing individual contracts that didn't offer a cost of living pay increase.

However, Roberta Doyle, an opera spokeswoman, said that productions will go ahead as planned. She told the Scotsman, "We absolutely reject any accusations of bullying. Essentially what we are after from the new contract is a more flexible way of working." She said the 16 people who voted for the strike are putting the 120-person company at risk.

Don Giovanni features a freelance chorus of 20 and is directed by Tim Albery and conducted by Richard Armstrong, the opera's former music director.

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