After a week of cancelling performances and disappointing fans, employers and employees at The Norwegian Opera and Ballet settled their differences during the night and were heading back to work. The curtain would go up again for Monday evening’s performance of the ballet Askepott (Cinderella).
It was among several performances at the popular Opera House in Oslo that were disrupted by a strike among members of a musicians’ union that demanded higher pay. Four performances of Cinderella were cancelled last week, along with three performances of the new opera Jorden rundt på 80 dager (Around the World in 80 Days). It would now resume for its three final performances on June 16, 17 and 19.
A state mediator finally brought the two sides in the conflict together after a new round of bargaining over the weekend. Leaders of the union (Musikernes fellesorganisasjon) and their members employers (ultimately the state, because of funding from the Ministry of Culture) signed a tentative agreement that will be recommended to the singers and dancers.
Renée Rasumssen of the labour organization told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that choir members, soloists and ballet dancers appearing on stage will now receive annual raises of between NOK 17,500 and 26,000 just for the Opera’s right to further use their presentations (opphavsrett).
Now they’ll get the same compensation as their colleagues at operas in Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger, as will orchestra members in other cities including Halden and Kristiansand.
Opera officials were relieved that the show could go on. “I’m glad on behalf of the public, who can now see the performances for which they’ve bought tickets,” said Sverre Gunnar Haga, representing Opera management.
He said he was “especially” relieved that an outdoor simulcast of Around the World in 80 Days, which the public can see for free from the roof of the Opera House on large screens as it plays out inside, can go as planned on June 19.