New York City Opera announces musician lockout

By Verena Dobnik

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Jan. 8 2012 3:55 p.m. MST

Mortier resigned from his position about six months before he was officially to start, on grounds that the operating budget had dwindled.

"We're heartbroken, but we cannot save the company," said Kruvand, the bass player.

She said City Opera has been "unable to sell tickets or attract donors" — mostly because Steel abandoned the company's longtime practice of staging surefire operas along with pioneering new works. Recently, the company has presented mostly 20th-century operas that are a box office challenge.

Kruvand noted that the current general manager still makes more than $300,000 after a 10 percent pay cut, while the musicians face about a 90 percent cut in earnings.

Speaking for Steel, Heller said that the unions "have repeatedly vilified George."

But the negotiating process is "not about any one person," she said. "This is about whether the unions will finally recognize that the City Opera needs to make fundamental changes in the way it operates so that it only pays people for work they perform."

Gordon, the union leader, called the latest labor impasse "City Opera's death."

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