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New York City Opera Says It Reached Agreement With Unions

David H. Koch Theater
The David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, former home of the New York City Opera. Photographer: Philip Boroff/Bloomberg

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Rehearsals are to begin today for New York City Opera’s abbreviated season, after the company reached provisional agreements with its two principal unions.

The three-year contracts must be ratified by members of the American Guild of Musical Artists -- which represents choristers and production staff -- and Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, according to statements from the opera and unions.

On Jan. 8, after talks deadlocked, the company announced a lockout affecting 47 musicians and a few dozen choristers, stage managers, directors, assistant directors and soloists. The musicians’ union resumed talks over the weekend and reached an agreement on Monday, said K.C. Boyle, a union spokesman. The American Guild of Musical Artists reached its deal yesterday.

“Given what City Opera has become, it’s a good agreement,” said Alan Gordon, the AGMA’s national executive director. “Good is a relative term.”

Many chorus members may leave the company this season and opt for severance, Gordon said. He declined to disclose details of the severance or the contract, aside from saying that health insurance continues through January 2013 and that all sides agreed to creating a “labor-management committee,” addressing planning and fundraising.

Verdi’s “La Traviata,” is scheduled to begin Feb. 21 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. NYCO has three other productions planned -- at BAM, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, and El Museo del Barrio on Fifth Avenue and 104th Street.

George Steel, the artistic director and general manager, said last year that the company didn’t have the money to continue performing at its Lincoln Center home.

To contact the reporter on this story: Philip Boroff in New York at pboroff@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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