Met Opera to start Sunday performances in 2019-20

NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Opera will start regular Sunday afternoon performances for the first time in its century-plus history during the 2019-20 season.

As part of its new union agreements announced Friday, the company also will go dark each February beginning in 2020-21. The Met will open the second half of each season in March with a new production, and the season will extend by a month into mid-June.

The Met has had slumping ticket sales in recent years, hurt by an aging audience and a shift away from subscriptions by attendees for most arts performances. The Met sold 75 per cent of capacity last season and 67 per cent of available box office, about the same as in 2016-17.

“We know that Saturday matinees perform 15-20 per cent better at the box office than weeknights and we project Sundays will do the same,” Met General Manager Peter Gelb said, anticipating revenue will increase by millions of dollars.

As part of three-year contracts, the Met has the right to present up to 17 Sunday matinees in 2019-20 and 27 the following season. Any Sunday performance will be followed by a Monday off for both performances and orchestra rehearsals. There also are limits on Tuesday morning rehearsals after Sunday shows.

Orchestra players who work more than 13 Sundays in a season would get overtime, and choristers who work Sunday performances would receive compensatory time off. Sunday performances will start no earlier than 1 p.m.

The shift to performances later in the spring also project to increase revenue. February usually has a lower percentage of tickets sold because of winter weather and a drop in tourism.

Because of the shift, the American Ballet Theater spring/summer season at the Met will be cut from eight weeks to five.

Gelb said the Met may present outside performances during the first week of the February break and that the Met Orchestra likely will give a concert at Carnegie Hall.

The agreements with local 802 of the Associated Musicians of Greater New York and the American Guild of Musical Artists still must be ratified by the AGMA board of governors this month. The deals call for 3 per cent raises in both 2018-19 and 2019-20, 1 per cent in the first six months of 2020-21 and 1 per cent in the second half of 2020-21. A formal two-year tenure process for the orchestra was put in writing and an artistic advisory committee was established.

“Demonstrating a continued willingness to invest in the Met’s long-term stability, we have agreed to add Sunday performances, which we recognize will reach new audiences, while also securing important protections and improvements that will safeguard artists’ work-life balance,” the unions said in a joint statement.

The previous agreements in 2014 were reached after contentious negotiations in which the Met asked for givebacks.

“Last time was about tackling costs and this time we’re dealing with increasing revenues,” Gelb said. “It seemed like the time was right.”

Just Posted

Improving life for people with Alzheimer’s and their families is a priority for Raitt

The federal Conservatives deputy leader is dealing with the disease in her own home

PHOTO: International Peace Day

Visitors broke bread, made crafts and trading cards at a gathering marking… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Central Alberta

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Central Alberta Friday afternoon. Warning… Continue reading

POLL: Most Red Deerians don’t want cell phones in the classroom

Sixty-six per cent of Advocate readers who responded to an on-line poll… Continue reading

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Updated: Grey Cup in Red Deer to raise funds for military families

Money raised will go to the Military Family Resource Centre and be used locally

Dustin Byfuglien scores in overtime, Jets beat Flames 4-3 in pre-season

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little tied the game late in the third and… Continue reading

Mistrial denied in Calgary murder trial over jury’s visit to hotel Denny’s

CALGARY — A Calgary judge has denied a request for a mistrial… Continue reading

Former Canadian astronaut says space shuttle is a vehicle of hope

OTTAWA — Sending messages of hope from space is a big part… Continue reading

Canada requests trade panel on uncoated groundwood paper ruling by U.S.

OTTAWA — Canada has requested a NAFTA trade panel review a U.S.… Continue reading

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

SURREY, B.C. — Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered today to… Continue reading

Tail with a happy ending: Dog rescued from fighting ring, ready for police work

Dallas’s ear-to-ear grin and bright brown eyes seem to sparkle with joy.… Continue reading

Liberal leader doubles down on notion that $75 weekly grocery bill is possible

MONTREAL — One day after being ridiculed for saying it was possible… Continue reading

Jury resumes deliberating man’s guilt in Calgary mother of four’s death

CALGARY — Jurors are continuing to deliberate the guilt of a man… Continue reading

Most Read