Entertainment budgets are usually the first things to be cut in times of financial strife, but a contract is a contract, as one opera house is currently learning. Florida music aficionados may be interested in the plight of one opera house out on the west coast, which is currently facing a breach of contract suit filed by a local musician's union. The union is claiming the opera house failed to live up to its agreement to pay a number of singers associated with the venue's storied history.
The opera house is slated to close this year after 49 years of performances. Before they do, they are being asked to "go out with dignity" by honoring long-standing contracts. One of these contracts, signed with a number of professional solo and choral singers, has gone unfulfilled according to a March 26 filing by the American Guild of Musical Artists. Despite a solid financial history, the opera house has shot back, claiming it lacks the funds to see the contracts through.
However, this clashes with official stories that suggest the San Diego Opera House is not suffering any financial strain due to debt or lines of credit. If this is true, the organization may be on the hook to pay off the more than 25 solo and choral singers who have outstanding contracts with the opera house. The filing mentions the opera house is required by law to sit down with representatives of the AGMA to talk terms.
Being a musician, as any Florida performer can tell you, is not easy work, and professional musicians are just as deserving of compensation as any other professional in any given field. If the San Diego Opera is found to be in breach of contract, they could be required to pay out all existing contracts before their doors close for good. Moreover, a successful litigation may expose them to additional expenses in the form of court costs, attorney's fees and interest concerning any monetary judgment awarded.
Source: kpbs.org, "San Diego Opera Faces Breach Of Contract Complaint", Greg Magnus, March 28, 2014