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July 16, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Met Opera dispute spills over into Seattle theaters

Representatives from one of the unions at the Metropolitan Opera will protest at Wednesday's showings of "Enchanted Island" in two Seattle movie theaters.

Representatives from one of the unions at the Metropolitan Opera will protest at Wednesday’s showings of the Met’s “Enchanted Island” in two Seattle movie theaters./AP

Things are getting heated between Metropolitan Opera leader Peter Gelb and the various unions that work in the storied New York opera house. Nearly all of the unions’ contracts expire July 31 but given recent developments, there seems to be little hope of amicable agreement. Gelb is asking for cuts to pay and benefits. The unions ask why they should take a hit when management’s “sorry record of mismanagement, cost overruns and bloated executive pay” is to blame. Lots of finger-pointing (“The Ring” was a disaster! Wait, Gelb makes nearly $2 million a year? Donors can’t keep us afloat!) on both sides, including questions about the Met’s popular “Live in HD” broadcasts to movie theaters worldwide.

Which brings us to the point: opera fans attending an encore showing of the Met’s “Enchanted Island” at 7 p.m. Wednesday (July 16) at both Pacific Place and Thornton Place will be greeted by members of International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, part of that union’s “Save the Met” campaign.

“Regularly scheduled simulcasts to theaters outside Lincoln Center have made Met performances a local treasure in locales outside the Big Apple. People outside New York City who care about the opera need to step up and help us save the Met,” said Joseph Hartnett, assistant director of stagecraft for IATSE.

Comments | More in Arts news | Topics: Metropolitan Opera, opera, Peter Gelb

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