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Flash News, 10-8: Paris Opera Cancels Weekend Performances
Action Follows Strike Threat by Major Union, Opera Says

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2001 The Dance Insider

PARIS -- The directors of the Paris Opera continued to negotiate today with the powerful CGT union, hoping to resume performing after a strike threat by the CGT forced the last-minute cancellations of ballet and opera performances over the weekend.

In a stunning move rivalling any drama the stage could produce, the Opera cancelled Friday night's performances of Roland Petit's ballet "Notre Dame de Paris" at the Palais Garnier, and the opera "Atila" at the Bastille Opera House hours before curtain-time. Saturday performances of the ballet were also cancelled.

In a statement issued Friday night, opera management said it had decided to cancel the performances and offer refunds after, it said, the CGT refused to rescind a threat to strike on behalf of certain technical workers. The refusal came in spite of offers put on the table by Opera management, the statement said.

Well turned-out Parisians and tourists who showed up at the Garnier Friday expecting to see the ballet were instead directed to a line where they could get refunds.

The CGT is acting on behalf of workers who are employed by production, as opposed to for the whole season, the newspaper Liberation reported Saturday.

CGT representatives could not be reached for comment. A representative of the Opera press service reached Monday could say only that the dispute was not about money.She said the two sides continued to negotiate this afternoon, and that the Opera was hopeful of resuming with tonight's sold-out performance of "Notre Dame de Paris," the last of the season featuring star dancer Isabelle Guerin in the featured role of Esmeralda.

"Notre Dame de Paris," which the Ballet performs every other season, is the first production of the 2001-2002 season.

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