Metropolitan Opera Cancels Remainder of 2019-20 Season

By David Salazar
(Credit: Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera)

The Metropolitan Opera has announced that it will be canceling the remainder of the 2019-20 season in an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Productions that are affected by this decision include “Maria Stuarda,” “Simon Boccanegra,” “Tosca,” “La Cenerentola,” “Katya Kabanova,” “Manon Lescaut,” “La Bohème,” “Werther,” and “Madama Butterfly.”

The company noted that full-time union employees will be paid through March and health care coverage will be maintained throughout. Earlier in the day it was noted that they had been furloughed and would not receive pay beyond March. It also noted that higher paid members of the administrative staff will take pay cuts and that General Manager Peter Gelb will waive his entire salary.

“We are not laying people off,” Mr. Gelb said in a New York Times article. “We are continuing to give them health benefits. Our operations have been suspended, and we cannot afford to pay them. We would go out of business in a matter of weeks, and that’s why these contracts have force majeure clauses in there.”

The company also noted that an emergency fundraising drive is being set up to manage the loss of box office and other earned revenues. Per The New York Times, the company stands to lose over $60 million during this time.

“The money we raise will help ensure that the Met will return, so that our artists and company members will once again be able to perform in our house,” said Mr. Gelb in a press statement.

The Met revealed that it would allow ticketholders to either get a full refund on its purchased tickets or have the cost added as a credit to their Met Opera accounts. Audiences are also encouraged to donate the full value of the tickets to the company.

The announcement comes after Carnegie Hall announced that it would not reopen until May 2020.

The Met has recently started its “Nightly Streams” sessions in which it showcases performances of its Live in HD series on its website for audiences to see on a daily basis.