Metropolitan Opera allegedly ‘outsourcing gigs’ to cheap, non-union musicians

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It’s the Thrift-Penny Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera is using the pandemic as an excuse to furlough its top musicians — and then fill their spots in the pit with cheap non-union talent, critics say.

The famed establishment’s alleged miserly antics included using budget musicians for the Met’s pay-per-view New Year’s Eve gala — without any mention of the symphonic skimping included in the literature supplied to its donors and ticket-holders.

“It is artistic malpractice and unacceptable that non-Met musicians are being hired to perform under the banner of the Metropolitan Opera,” Adam Krauthamer, president of the musicians union AFM Local 802, wrote in a statement.

“Let’s be clear: hiring non-Met musicians under the banner of the Metropolitan Opera and outsourcing the orchestra’s work is an attack on the Met as an artistic institution and an insult to the very artists who work there.”

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Committee, a group of workers, said management is using the pandemic to make opportunistic long-term cuts at their expense.

“We have now been unpaid for 10 months and counting,” the group said in a statement. “The Metropolitan Opera is an outlier in our industry; every other major orchestra has been compensated since the very beginning of the pandemic.”

 In a September press release, Met General Manager Peter Gelb said he had faith that the members of the company and public would understand the opera company’s belt-tightening because of the circumstances of the pandemic.

“The inability to perform is taking a tremendous toll on our company,” Gelb said at the time. “Our future relies on making strong  artistic strides, while collectively reducing our costs until the audience has fully returned.”  

Nearly 3,000 people have reacted to the disgruntled union’s post on Instagram, with some who claim to be donors expressing their dismay.

“I’m a Met donor and will not give one penny more until the musicians are treated equitably. Shame on Gelb and everyone else involved,” one comment reads.

Another writer said, “What the hell is wrong with the Met Board? Do they not know if it weren’t for the musicians, their top billed opera stars wouldn’t have any music to sing to? Get it together. This is a first class orchestra WITHOUT the opera. They deserve to be treated as such.”

The Metropolitan Opera did not respond to a Post request for comment.

This controversy comes after a December proposal to slash the long-term contracts of stagehands by 30 percent was rejected by Local One, the union representing the employees.

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