Threatened Lockout at the Metropolitan Opera: What Was at Stake

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Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House (credit: Flickr/niallkennedy)

July 31, 2014

The labor dispute that shook the Metropolitan Opera in the summer of 2014 was not the first of its kind. The company has had an on-and-off history of standoffs and strikes involving its singers, orchestra musicians, stagehands and other workers. In this report for WNYC and WQXR, I looked at this history, and examined what was at stake if a threatened lockout were to occur.

“When the Met had a three-month labor battle in 1969, nearly 20 percent of its subscribers dropped off and it took the company five years to recoup the losses. The last time there was a lockout, in 1980, it lost donors and it took four years for ticket sales to rebound. Some question whether today’s audiences will be nearly as loyal.”