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January 18, 2012

Last-minute reprieve for New York City Opera seems possible

The depressing saga of New York City Opera, which left its longtime Lincoln Center home for an uncertain future as a nomadic company, has hit an unexpected note of optimism.

Although negotiations with the musicians appeared to have broken down for good a few days ago, talks resumed and it now looks like a 2012 season -- a shadow of the seasons City Opera once offered -- will proceed. Rehearsals for "La Traviata" will now begin; that production is due to open at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Feb. 12.

Here are excerpts from the union's press release:

After months of negotiations and mediation which last week resulted in a lockout of musicians, the negotiating committee comprised of musicians who play in New York City Opera and their union ... provisionally approved an offer by management that, if ratified by the full orchestra, will allow the 2012 season to proceed.

In response to this latest offer ... Tino Gagliardi, president of Local 802, AFM, said: “This tentative settlement is far from ideal, but our membership is now carefully considering its elements in light of the circumstances ... Though greatly saddened by the Opera’s departure from Lincoln Center and its truncated season, the musicians simply want to find a way that would allow ‘The People’s Opera’ to continue its grand tradition.”

The voting for ratification will close at 4:00pm on Thursday, January 19th.

Posted by Tim Smith at 5:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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