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Strike Seen as Likely at New York City Opera

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Efforts by the New York City Opera to get back on its feet hit a road bump road Friday when a union leader cited what he called the likelihood of a strike by singers, chorus members and production staff members.

The official, Alan Gordon, said he had sent a letter to singers agents accusing City Opera management of trying to void the contract unilaterally to extract concessions. When announcing the companys 2009-10 season, its general manager and artistic director, George R. Steel, had pointed out that some contracts were up for negotiation.

Mr. Gordon is executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents principal singers, the chorus and some backstage workers. There is no legal way for City Opera to reopen the contract early, Mr. Gordon said in a separate news release. The singers contract expires in 2011, and the orchestras contract ends next month.

Whatever the outcome of the dispute with the guild, its members are expected to follow the lead of the orchestra union. The company is planning to put on only five operas next year, about a third of its past offerings, making it inevitable it will have to seek serious cost cuts.

Mr. Steel declined to comment on Mr. Gordons letter, except to say: We are confused and hurt by Mr. Gordons comments. As in the past, New York City Opera prefers to negotiate contractual agreements in confidence.

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