Welsh National Opera Orchestra Muscians Face Pay Cuts

By Francisco Salazar

Musicians’ Union members in the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera have responded to plans in which orchestra members will get a reduction in working weeks, equating to a 15 percent pay cut as a result of a funding shortfall for the company.

In a statement, Jo Laverty, MU National Organiser for Orchestras said, “It will be unsustainable for our members to weather such a hit by falling back to salaries they were on five years ago. It is a devastating situation. These proposals are the direct result of underfunding and defunding of opera. It will impact not just on our members but on WNO’s audiences in Wales and England.”

The MU Steward and Orchestra Committee of WNO added, “We are shocked and saddened to be presented with the proposal of a reduced contract to begin next in April 2025. We feel very strongly that the only way to maintain the artistic standards we expect of Wales’s national opera company is through the retention of a full-time orchestra. Anything less than that will have a negative impact on our ability to attract and recruit the best conductors and players, and both the quality and quantity of our output will suffer. A move to part-time would be disastrous for the future success of Welsh National Opera.”

The news comes as the Mid Wales Opera has faced a 100 percent cut in its funding from Arts Council Wales and the English National Opera is being forced to move following the loss of funding from teh Arts Council. It also comes as the Birmingham Opera Company will lose funding from Birmingham City Council.