New York’s Metropolitan Opera announced on Wednesday that it is canceling all performances for the 2020-2021 season, and will not open its doors to the public until September of next year.
The announcement from one of the city’s most revered artistic institutions was the latest sign that New York will have to contend with a dearth of cultural events well into next summer, as well as the resulting damage to the city’s tourism industry. Broadway theaters have also gone dark, and the theater scene is currently in a state of limbo.
The Met Opera has lost $150 million in revenue since the pandemic forced its closure, the New York Times reported. The opera’s 1,000 full-time employees, including its singers and chorus, have been furloughed without pay since April.
General Manager Peter Gelb said the organization would be forced to make pay cuts upon its return.
“In normal times, unions always want to fight hard for their workers, and that’s right,” Gelb told the Times. “These are not normal times. These are pandemic times. There’s going to be a residual fallout from this that is going to go on for several years.”
In late June the Broadway League, the trade association for Broadway theaters, said it would halt all productions until at least January 2021. The league said in a statement that it was attempting to find solutions that would allow audiences to return, including methods of sanitizing theaters.
New York City is reeling from the effects of the pandemic, which killed 24,000 residents and forced mass closures of businesses. The city government is currently attempting to reopen its public schools, however that effort has been delayed amid back-and-forth negotiations between Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and teachers’ unions.
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