The Dallas Opera announces pay cuts and furloughs, as arts companies continue to suffer economically
The economic repercussions of the coronavirus continued to hit local art companies on Thursday when the Dallas Opera announced wage cuts and vacation days for administrative and artist staff, as well as “wage cuts for other corporate members.”
Ian Derrer, the opera’s general manager and CEO, cited “the financial impact of the COVID-19 virus pandemic,” which has also forced the company to cancel three of the five operas slated for the 2019-20 season.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce these painful cuts,” said Drerer. “But they are necessary to stabilize the financial health of our great company for the future. An opera company that cannot produce opera has no choice but to limit itself, if only temporarily. “
The opera’s decision comes shortly after Lily Cabatu Weiss, executive director of the Dallas Arts District, announced that 10 of the district’s 12 companies have suffered collective financial losses of at least $ 18.5 million. Weiss said on Thursday that she expected an increase on Friday.
The cancellation of 14 opera performances on the main stage and the “Songs for Dallas” joint concert resulted in a loss of $ 1.6 million in ticket sales, Derrer said.
Derrer and Music Director Emmanuel Villaume are voluntarily reducing their salary by 25% and adding in their announcement that the “consequences may continue”.
Staff salary cuts, beginning May 1, will range between 10% and 25% based on a combination of salary levels and “immediate work needs”. Some employees will be on leave from May 1st to June but will retain the health benefits, ”the announcement said.
A double exposure image shows the Winspear Opera House, a dried reflective pool in Sammons Park and a sign saying that all buildings of the AT&T Performing Arts Center complex will be closed on March 21, 2020 due to COVID-19 in Dallas.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)
Other members of the company negatively affected by the cancellations include orchestral musicians, choir singers, stagehands, staplers, dressers, wig and makeup artists, and production workers, who receive a 50% wage cut because they cannot provide services for the canceled performances. “
Derrer said he was “encouraged” that “many ticket buyers who bought tickets for the now-canceled 2019/2020 events either donate the value of their tickets or apply the amount to their 2020/2021 subscriptions”.