The Metropolitan Opera's operating deficit grew roughly eight-fold to $22-million in the 2013-14 season and was the company's highest in 30 years as a percentage of its budget, reports The New York Times. Weak fundraising and box-office revenues and costs associated with a contentious labor dispute swelled the shortfall, according to preliminary numbers the Met released Thursday.
The deficit figure does not reflect deep reductions in wages and administrative spending the opera is set to impose under deals forged by the Met and its unions in August, with the help of federal mediators. The opera expects to balance its budget within two years as the cuts are phased in. Officials said ticket revenue so far this season is running well ahead of last year's sales, and donations are expected to pick up now that the labor fight has been resolved.