“Facing steep budget cuts, the board of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma has voted to fire its entire strike-prone orchestra and chorus and replace them with outsourced musicians,” writes Rachel Donadio in Friday’s (10/3) New York Times. “The move came two weeks after Riccardo Muti announced that he would withdraw from conducting two operas in Rome, Aida in November and The Marriage of Figaro next spring…. ‘We realize that what we’re doing is taking a path that has never been tried before in our country,’ the mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, said at a news conference in Rome on Thursday. ‘But after careful reflection, we thought that this is the only path that can bring real renewal to the lyric opera of our city.’ … The firing would be effective Jan. 1. … Firing [the musicians] is expected to save 3.4 million euros per year. The theater’s 2014 budget is about 55 million euros…. In 2013 the theater had a deficit of 12.9 million euros and was 28.8 million euros in debt…. On Friday musicians from the orchestra and chorus held a sit-in protest in Rome’s City Hall to protest the firings, but it did not appear that the union had the power to overrule the board’s decision.”

Posted October 6, 2014