City Opera Strikes Deal with Musicians; Rehearsals to Resume

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After months of rancorous negotiations, New York City Opera and the unions representing its orchestra, chorus and principal singers have reached a tentative contract agreement, allowing the 2012 season to proceed.

Tino Gagliardi, president of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, called it  “far from ideal,” but says members are “carefully considering” the details. Union members have until 4 pm Thursday to vote.

In a statement, City Opera said the tentative three-year contract deal includes health insurance for at least a year, followed by monthly contributions after that time. It also calls for the formation of a committee to help with future “artistic, planning and fundraising issues.”  

Neither side disclosed wage details.

Approval of the offer came nine days after talks with a mediator broke down, resulting in a lockout, and delaying rehearsals for the Feb. 12 opening production of Verdi's La Traviata at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Rehearsals are now said to begin Wednesday afternoon.

The union representing the orchestra, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, agreed to the terms of the deal late on Tuesday. The American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the chorus, principal singers, stage managers and assistant directors, came on board on Wednesday morning.

City Opera moved out of its longtime home at Lincoln Center last year, citing financial troubles. It cut back its usual schedule of 12 to 16 operas per season, with a peak of about 130 performances.

Because of its financial problems, City Opera announced in May that it would leave its former home at Lincoln Center and perform at different venues instead.

UPDATED: Wednesday, 1/18 at 1:05 pm