‘Pirates’ in union spat

Choppy seas for musical

A labor dispute threatens to disrupt New York City Opera’s upcoming production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” whose cast includes Rialto vet Marc Kudisch.

Talks between City Opera and the American Guild of Musical Artists broke down Feb. 7 over the number of rehearsal hours required for choristers, according to a statement from AGMA.

The Gilbert and Sullivan tuner “Penzance” is skedded to open at City Opera on March 3.

AGMA sent out an email Tuesday to agents and managers stating that negotiations stalled over issues that include “limiting rehearsal time in a manner that will protect the choristers’ vocal health,” along with “certain issues relating to compensation and hours of work.” The email also stated that picketing “Penzance” is a possibility, in the event the dispute is not resolved at the table.

According to AGMA, City Opera wants 36 hours of vocal rehearsal per week from choristers, while the choristers, citing the potential for vocal strain, want it limited to 30 hours.

“Ninety-nine percent of City Opera’s contract with AGMA has been resolved,” said a statement from the opera’s rep. “City Opera is hopeful everything will be decided before the opening of our spring season.”

The two sides expect to meet again the week of Feb. 26.

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