Met Opera says $31M on tax return is mostly pledges

Jun 10, 2021, 1:38 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2021, 7:30 am

The Metropolitan Opera says a positive $31 million on its latest tax return is mostly money pledged for future seasons that the company has not yet received.

The company’s tax return, released Thursday, showed revenue fell by $13 million for the season that included the initial months of the pandemic and salaries dropped by $41 million. The Met said it operated at a balance budget in 2019-20.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin earned $915,571, up from $392,152 in the fiscal year ending July 31, 2019, when he conducted two productions in his first season, succeeding James Levine as the Met’s music director.

Met general manager Peter Gelb earned $1.46 million in the latest fiscal year, down slightly from $1.49 million.

The Met, the largest performing arts institution in the U.S., has not been on stage since March 11, 2020, because of the pandemic, losing the final two months of 2019-20 and its entire 2020-21 season for a total of 276 missed performances.

The Met, saying it needs to cut expenses, has been involved in acrimonious labor negotiations with its three primary unions.

It reached a tentative agreement last month a four-year contract with the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents the chorus and solo artists; resumed negotiations this month with Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents stagehands and has been locked out since Dec. 8; and is negotiating with Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the orchestra and has a contract that expires July 31.

Revenue dropped from $307 million in the year ending July 31, 2019, to $295 million in the year ending last July 31, and expenses fell from $313 million to $263 million.

Salaries fell from $240 million to $199 million.

The Met listed net assets at $78 million, down from $103 million. Secured notes and mortgages increased by $11.5 million to $57 million and other liabilities, including federal income tax and payables to third parties, rose by $67.6 million to $213 million — of which $194 million is pension obligations.

The endowment fund rose from $249 million to $264 million.

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Met Opera says $31M on tax return is mostly pledges