Apocalypse later

In today’s Wall Street Journal “Sightings” column, I comment on the last-minute settlement of the Metropolitan Opera’s labor negotations. Here’s an excerpt.

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The show goes on. Instead of locking out the Metropolitan Opera’s musicians and stagehands, Peter Gelb, the company’s general manager, agreed to a still-to-be-ratified settlement with their labor unions that will allow America’s biggest opera company to open its 2014-15 season on schedule.

Peter Gelb 2.jpgBeyond expressing relief that the Met didn’t have to scuttle its season, few observers have said much about the specifics of the settlement. Presumably this is because they were not officially released to the press. But they were widely leaked, and it isn’t hard to figure out how Mr. Gelb and the unions managed to get to yes. What’s more, it appears that the terms to which the general manager agreed stand in sharp contrast to what he’d argued was necessary to pull the Met out of its financial quicksand. The company, he claimed, was galloping toward the abyss, and only the most drastic reforms could save it. “No cuts means no Met,” he said….

I claim no inside knowledge of the Met, but it looks to me as though one of two things has happened: Either Mr. Gelb exaggerated the company’s plight as a negotiating tactic, or the unions ate his lunch….

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Read the whole thing here.

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