Met Opera Lays Off All Union Employees, Including Musicians and Chorus

The organization made the decision in the wake of coronavirus

Russian mezzo-soprano Larissa Diadkova (as the 'Countess') (left) and Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen (as 'Lisa') perform during the final dress rehearsal prior to the season revival of the Metropolitan Opera/Elijah Moshinsky production of 'The Queen of Spades' at Lincoln Center's Metropolitan Opera House, New York, New York, November 26, 2019. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)
Russian mezzo-soprano Larissa Diadkova (as the 'Countess') (left) and Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen (as 'Lisa') perform during the final dress rehearsal prior to the season revival of the Metropolitan Opera/Elijah Moshinsky production of 'The Queen of Spades' at Lincoln Center's Metropolitan Opera House, New York, New York, November 26, 2019. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)
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By Bonnie Stiernberg / March 19, 2020 1:37 pm

The Metropolitan Opera, the largest performing arts organization in the country, has reportedly laid off all of its unionized staff — including its musicians and chorus — in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.

Just five days ago, the organization, whose budget last year was $312 million, announced it was canceling all rehearsals and performances through the end of the month. Ticketholders for the canceled March 14 performance of “Cosi Fan Tutte” were told the value of their tickets would be credited to their Met Opera account.

Earlier this week, the Met announced that it would stream operas from its “Live in HD” series on its website for free every night. All the streamings begin at 7:30 p.m. EST and remain up on the Met’s site for 20 hours. Tonight (March 19), they will stream a 2018 performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata,” conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez and Quinn Kelsey. (You can check out the full “Live in HD” streaming schedule here.)

So far, there’s no official word from the Met on whether the layoffs are temporary or permanent, or how they’ll affect future performances. Stay tuned for more information as we get it.

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