The strike against the Fresno Grand Opera by local musicians, which was called the night of the April 27 Renee Fleming concert, is still on. That means there will be picket lines at performances of “Show Boat,” the opera company’s last production of the season, on Friday and Saturday at the Saroyan Theatre.
I have a lengthy column in Sunday’s Spotlight section about the whole messy issue, which has turned quite bitter. In it I summarize the key positions of both the union and management and dive into some of the thornier issues of the strike itself. We’ve also posted full statements from both sides at fresnobee.com. (The management statement is here. The union statement is here.) If you have the fortitude, you can wade through all the charges and countercharges yourself.
I interviewed lots of people for my column, many of whom did not want to go on the record. One person I wanted to include in the piece was Edna Garabedian, the founder of the Fresno International Grand Opera, the organization that evolved into Fresno Grand Opera. (She parted ways with the organization early on.) She now is the artistic director of the California Opera Association. With her distinguished professional career as a singer and her years of observation of the Fresno opera scene, I wanted to get her perspective on the strike. Her emailed answers to my questions arrived too late to use in the print version of my column, but I wanted to include them here online to get yet another voice into the mix.
Question: What was your reaction to the way the Renee Fleming concert unfolded?
Answer: I was deeply saddened for all parties. There were many alternative
possibilities and choices that are common to the experienced administrative opera
world that could have been followed.