It's the end of an artistic era: After more than a century, the Metropolitan Opera has disbanded its ballet with a modern-day buyout.
The eight remaining members of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, down from 16 in 2011, agreed Monday to leave the company, the New York Times reports. The dancers accepted a package that includes $75,000 in severance and two additional years of health care coverage under the opera’s plan.
There's disagreement on whether the ballet, which has been associated with the Met since its inception in 1883, will be forever defunct.
Deborah Allton-Maher of the American Guild of Musical Artists, which reps the dancers, told the New York Times that the "goal was not to get rid of the ballet, but to reduce and restructure it."
Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, had a different take, telling the Times that while "significant performance of dance on our stage" will continue "it's hard to imagine that we will have a single, resident company."
Instead, the Met will continue to hire dancers per production, allowing choreographers to use performers to suit their styles, Gelb added.
Large opera houses in London, Paris and Milan have resident ballet companies, but those troupes, unlike the one being disbanded at the Met, present their own programs in addition to performing with their opera companies.