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And The Fat Lady Sings

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Flatbedford, May 28, 2014.

  1. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Some of you know that I am a stagehand at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. Well, I'm still a stagehand, but I'm leaving the Met at the end of the month. After 14 years of way too many hours and sacrificing my life for the opera, I am moving on. I'm staying in NY, just giving up a full time job and going freelance. While I will lose the security of "the show that never closes", I will have the potential to make more, or at least the same money in less time. This has been a year from hell for my family. Cancer, broken bones, surgery, and the loss of a beloved pet have made me realize that it was time for a change. It doesn't help any the management at the Met has spent nearly all the money and lost a significant portion of its audience. Management's best solution has been to tell all of its employees to take a 16% cut in pay and benefits or be locked out in August. Its not my fault they spent all their money and my family is not gonna pay for it. If interested you can read more here. http://www.savethemetopera.com/
    We have a decent severance deal and I have some accrued vacation pay so I should be able to make a smooth transition into new jobs. Thankfully, my pension and health insurance are through my union so there will be no gap or change on that front. Worst case is that I will have some more time to c/s/s firewood this summer. It scares the crap out of me to leave, but I know it is the best route for me now.
    Wish me luck.
    Oh, and just for old time's sake here's the view from one of my "offices" at the Met.

    0606122121.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2014
    flyingcow, pen, Joful and 1 other person like this.

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  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Best of luck! Good job going for the lifestyle you need
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Fantastic. Get to work at places with better music. ;lol

    Seriously, congrats on cutting the cord. You will do fine. I hear NYC has a stage or two around.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Looking at the article, in a bar fight I would sure prefer to have one or more of Local One's members on my side. >>
  5. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Yes you would!
  6. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I am considering this an "intermission" in my career, or, maybe, temporary retirement.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Well, good luck. I still like going to those simulcasts. I thought they were a money maker.
  8. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    They are making money in the movie theaters, but not in the opera house. Seems folks would rather spend around $25 for a movie ticket than travel to NYC and spend around $150 or much more to see opera live. It hasn't helped any that some of the new productions are simply not as nice to look at as the ones they replace. I think the opera audience is a little more conservative than the Met thought. I could go on, but I'll spare you all my griping. The Met says it will go belly up in 5 years if the employees don't take significant cuts. I wish them all the best of luck.
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    They need to put on Spiderman - The Opera.

  10. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Every time I see that photo, all I can think of is you dropping your phone and giving an opera goer a traumatic brain injury. !!! Best of luck in all your future pursuits, Steve. I'll look forward to updates from you here. Break a leg! Rick
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I had that same thought, but was seeing a screwdriver falling!

    Sounds like you are making the right call. I hope this is the start of something great for you Steve.
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Steve - best of luck. No doubt that a move like this is scary. I would be willing to wager that a couple years from now you will be saying "the best thing I ever did".
    Warm_in_NH likes this.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I agree. There was a show on PBS, I think, about some fancy hydraulic system they built and I think I might've seen a Wagner opera where they used it, but I'm not sure if it was used that much. I could be wrong, of course, but that might be a way of wasting money. I'm more conservative as as well, but my wife and I both liked the one staged in Las Vegas. I should know them by name, but I don't.
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I always envy those with the courage to cut the cord. Been on the fence about this many years, myself. The impending pay cut does take some of the sting out of walking away from that regular paycheck, I suppose, but I'm sure it's not an easy choice.
  15. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    That was Wagner's Ring Cycle. I giant stupid expensive machine. They spent millions on it and ended up giving away tickets to a show that had always sold out in advance. The production that "the machine" replaced was one of the most beautiful productions the Met owned. Now it looks like the fisher price bowling game I had as a kid in the 70s.
  16. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I saw the PBS show on the machine. I remember a good portion of the show was devoted to the technical problems and philosophical differences amongst those involved but I don't recall them saying it was ultimately a flop, interesting.

    Onto the important stuff, wish you the best of luck. Sounds like you have thought it out and even though it can be scary, from what you are saying it seems to me you'll be glad you acted and didn't just stand on the tracks. As someone who made a similar move within the last 5 yrs I can say the first step was the hardest.
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah nothing but good from moving on. I worked for six companies after the Army and to retirement. "Stood on the tracks." a couple of times and was sorry for it.
  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I would wish you well Steve . . . but from what I know of you from the posts here and having met you I think I can safely say you make your own "luck" and will do fine in your future endeavors. That said, continued success and may the future be a happier one then this past year.
  19. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Some artsy guy or gal had a "concept". Still, management approved it.
  20. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    It probably looked much better on the cocktail napkin than it did on stage.
  21. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    Wish you all the luck Flatbed. I am on my 3rd "career" and I am in the process of selling everything I own to relocate to St Croix. Will it work?? I do not know the answer. I do know if I do not do it I will regret it. Can not get back time.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  22. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Steve, you should be able to run any public company now, after all the acting you've seen on broadway. Move to a wall street gig, they just make more than you guys, do the same thing!
    Flatbedford likes this.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I've had 5 major career changes, all unplanned and quite unrelated. Eventually you learn to trust your abilities and have faith that it will work out.
  24. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    So. Me.
    When I was about 10 Mum signed me up for an "enrichment program". Sundays! when MA blue laws were still in effect (everything was "closed"). I had to put on a dress, tights, patent leather shoes, get on a bus and go to some auditorium. I wanted to "play", but instead I was on the bus. I saw the BSO, the Boston Ballet, swing orchestras, Tap dancing... you name it. The one that sticks in my mind? OPERA. We were settled into the plush seats when the host came on stage and asked, "who like opera?". (predictable response)

    The host introduced the principals (wearing street clothes). He explained the story (Carmen) and each principal (in street clothes) sang a little bit. He explained about the voices and how long and specifically the principals trained to achieve the result we'd just heard. He left the stage and the orchestra played some of the music and then, the overture... the curtain went up... AND THERE THEY WERE! in full costume and make up. I will never forget it!!! It was magic, and I couldn't take my eyes off the stage.

    One of the greatest gifts of the USA to the world is musical theatre. And without opera there would be no such thing! I wouldn't describe myself as an aficionado, but any sort of live musical performance blows my mind. And there is so much wonderful music in opera; it is, albeit, an "acquired taste" but it's a wonderful thing. Acting, and classical voice training? doesn't get any better.
  25. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    No doubt there is plenty if magic on stage here at the Met and any other stage. I have been working "back stage" since the late 80s and even after all this time I still feel the magic from time to time even though it's my job to make the magic. In fact one of the things I loved about working at the Met was taking people back stage to see how the magic is made. Doing that reminded me what a great place it is.
    I'm just not crazy about making that magic for an employer that thinks my work is all the sudden worth 15% less money.
    Bobbin likes this.

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