In a first for Italy the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome has sacked its entire orchestra and chorus and will replace them with outsourced musicians.
Many other European opera houses do the same, and Rome has joined the trend after losing patience with its strike-happy musicians.
The mass firing comes after conductor Riccardo Muti pulled out of two operas.
“Unfortunately, very often the Opera house has experienced budget shortfalls, and the workers always pay the consequences. This time, however, the consequences are unimaginable, unthinkable, disastrous,” said baritone and union organiser Francesco Melis.
Muti, who was praised for his “Nabucco” last year, was to have conducted “Aida” in November and “The Marriage of Figaro in the spring, but slammed the opera’s “continuous protests, internal conflict and months-long strikes that led to the cancellation of several performances.”