Yannick Nézet-Séguin is speaking out about the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra not being paid for nearly a year.
In a letter sent to leaders at the Met including Peter Gelb, Nézet-Séguin noted that the lack of pay for the orchestra and chorus for the past months was “increasingly unacceptable.”
In his letter obtained by the New York Times, the conductor wrote, “Of course, I understand this is a complex situation but as the public face of the Met on a musical level, I am finding it increasingly hard to justify what has happened.”
He added, “We risk losing talent permanently. The orchestra and chorus are our crown jewels, and they must be protected. Their talent is the Met. The artists of the Met are the institution…Protecting the long-term future of the Met is inextricably linked with retaining these musicians, and with respecting their livelihoods, their income, and their well-being…I implore the fiduciaries of this incredible house to urgently help to find a solution to compensate our artists appropriately. We all realize the challenges, economic and otherwise, that the Met is facing, and therefore I ask for empathy, honesty, and open communication throughout this process.”
The Met replied in a statement obtained by the New York Times, “we share Yannick’s frustration over the lengthy closure and the impact it has had on our employees. ”
Earlier on Tuesday, March 16, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra voted to accept a deal that will provide them with paychecks for the first time in nearly a year in exchange for returning to the bargaining table. The musicians agreed to $1,543 a week on a temporary basis, a deal the chorus made more than a month ago.