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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Carnegie Hall Opener Canceled

Stagehands strike nixes Opening Night.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
There's a new soloist (but no audience) as Carnegie Hall goes dark for opening night.
Original photo © Carnegie Hall. Photoshop by the author.
In a move that sent ripples through the New York classical music community, Carnegie Hall has been forced to cancel its opening night gala featuring Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Joshua Bell and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The cancellation comes following a strike by Carnegie Hall stagehands who are in the middle of negotiating a new contract with the historic venue. All future concerts (starting with Thursday night's appearance by the American Symphony Orchestra) are still on the schedule pending the resolution of the dispute.

In an announcement from Carnegie Hall, the scheduled concert will not be rescheduled and refunds will be made available through CarnegieCharge.

The Opening Night Gala Dinner will still be held at the Waldorf Astoria at 6pm.

Carnegie's stagehands, represented by IATSE/Local One (the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) struck today. The dispute is over future operations of the Hall's new Education Wing and union jurisdicion within the new facilities being built on the upper floors of Carnegie Hall. The spaces are not scheduled to open until 2014.

"As these new spaces will not open until 2014, we urged the stagehands to continue the conversation", the statement reads. "We're therefore disappointed that they nonetheless chose to strike at this time."

The Philadelphia Orchestra is no stranger to opening night strikes. In 2011, a strike at the Kimmell Center forced the ensemble to move its opening night gala to a theater at the nearby University of Pennsylvania.

This is the second piece of bad news related to Carnegie Hall this week. Due to a year-long lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra will not be performing the first half of its planned November residency at Carnegie Hall. Additionally, Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä tendered his resignation on Monday.

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