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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 16, 2014 / 18 Tammuz, 5774

Union drama at the Metropolitan Opera

By Rich Lowry




JewishWorldReview.com | The fat lady will sing -- but only in strict keeping with the work rules set out by the American Guild of Musical Artists.

The Metropolitan Opera has a labor problem. Personnel expenses account for $200 million of the financially struggling Met's $327 million budget.

In the interest of survival in an era more attuned to "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" than "Le Nozze di Figaro," the Met wants to reduce its labor costs by 16 percent by getting the unions to accept common-sensical work rules and less generous pension and health benefits. The unions say no and accuse the Met of waging war on their families.

The storied but precarious institution could see its next season disrupted in the labor discord. The Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, warns that without union flexibility, the very existence of the world-famous, 130-year-old opera is at risk.

Well, if worst came to worst, at least the Met's singers and musicians could make a go of it at the New York City Opera. No, wait, it shut its doors for the last time last year.

It doesn't take an opera aficionado to realize that the 21st century isn't the 19th, and opera is an embattled art form. Unfortunately, the Met is locking horns with a force, the unions, that has proven adept at helping to drive struggling industries into the ground.

A New York Times editorial recently noted that orchestra members, who on average make $200,000 a year, get 16 weeks off with pay. The American Federation of Musicians Local 802 shot back that it is really only 10 weeks of guaranteed time off with pay. Touche.

Under the current rules, the base pay for chorus members, who also make on average $200,000 a year, covers four performances a week. The members get paid extra for rehearsals -- even if they haven't sung in four performances that week.

They also earn overtime for singing in any opera over four hours, which makes Richard Wagner the best thing that ever happened to a Met singer's paycheck. His "Parsifal" clocks in at five hours, and wasn't performed last season, in part because of the extra labor costs.

Who knew that the Met is not so much an opera house as the artistic equivalent of the fiscally unsustainable, union- dominated state of Illinois? The Met doesn't need Peter Gelb; it needs Chris Christie.

The union case against its nemesis Gelb is that he's a spendthrift, and there's something to it. He spent $169,000 this season on a poppy-field set for Alexander Borodin's "Prince Igor." Let's concede that half-naked people moving dreamily through a fake poppy field is not everyone's cup of tea. Let's further concede that spending $169,000 on poppies is extravagant. But the Met's aggrieved musicians might not have noticed: Opera is an extravagant art form. If they wanted stripped-down and no-nonsense, they could have gone into folk music.



Gelb dropped almost $20 million a few years ago on a production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle so ambitious that more than $1 million had to be spent on reinforcing the stage to support the 45-ton set. If the production underperformed at the box office, it was on a scale worthy of the Met and was funded by a gift. Only unions would complain that an opera manager is spending too much on opera and not enough on overtime pay and pension benefits.

Given the head winds in the culture, what the Met accomplishes is extraordinary -- more than 200 performances a season, in front of 800,000 people in the house and another couple of million in broadcasts in movie theaters. It is working to preserve a demanding art form that represents one of the high points of Western civilization.

It would be a shame for the ages if it were brought low, not just by indifference without, but by shortsighted union grubbiness within.

Rich Lowry Archives

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