The Metropolitan Opera laid off many of its employees, including its musicians and chorus, in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.
The sobering news comes as nearly every facet of arts and entertainment shuts down, with audiences forced to stay inside and artists themselves fighting the spread of the deadly virus. The Met reportedly let go of its unionized staff this week, according to NPR.
The Met, whose 2019 budget was $312 million, is reportedly the nation’s single largest performing arts organization. Five days ago, citing the “safety and security of our audiences and employees” in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it canceled all rehearsals and performances through March 31. Opera lovers were told that the value of their tickets for the canceled March 14 performance of “Così Fan Tutte” would be credited to their Met Opera account.
On Monday, the Met announced that it would stream its “Live in HD” broadcasts free nightly through its website, MetOpera.org, to keep the music alive.
The company, under manager Peter Gelb, has long run on a deficit. No word yet on when or if its season would continue.
A post on the Middle-class Artist website, penned by tenor Zach Finkelstein, said the company informed its contracted soloists that they wouldn’t be paid through the closure.
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