ORIGINAL ENTRY 9:30 a.m. 10/25: Word comes this morning from the local musicians union that the strike against Fresno Grand Opera is over. Larry Gardner, president of the local union, writes:
Yesterday we agreed to work under our old agreement until 8/31/13. The strike against the Fresno Grand Opera is ended and they have been removed from the AFM (American Federation of Musicians) Unfair list.
Musicians have been on strike against the opera since March 27, when players formed a picket line hours before a concert with Renee Fleming. The local musicians union had been working with an expired contract with Fresno Grand Opera since October 2010. It approved a strike vote in November 2011 and reaffirmed that vote the day before the Fleming concert. The most contentious issue involved the opera’s hiring practices. Gardner said at the time that musicians are hired as little as two days before a concert — too little time for musicians to prepare.
The opera went on to hire non-union musicians for its production of “Show Boat” in May.
The agreement comes just a few days before Fresno Grand Opera’s first event of the season. “Vino & Verdi,” a concert featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Lori Phillips along with tenor Jeffrey Hartman, baritone Stefanos Koroneos, mezzo-soprano Michelle Rice and the opera chorus, is 2 p.m. Sunday. One of the Fresno Grand Opera’s biggest events, featuring Broadway and TV star Kristin Chenoweth, is in a few short weeks on Nov. 9.
I have a query out to Fresno Grand Opera management. I’ll update the story as I get more information.