What Do Opera Singers Actually Get Paid?

July 11, 2014 1:47 PM

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There has been a lot of union activity lately in the opera world, and numbers have been thrown around in the press which have caused many an ear to perk up. I always knew that singing in the chorus at the Metropolitan Opera was a lucrative job compared to a lot of other career paths one could take in this field, but I wasn't aware that the pay was (if we are to believe the New York Times) between $100,000 and $200,000 per year, when you include things like overtime, pensions, health insurance, etc. To a lot of working opera singers, that seems like a lot of money. Not that the chorus doesn't work incredibly hard at an extremely high level for their money -- they often do the least glamorous grunt work that allows the art form to flourish, and the amount of hours that they work and perform can be quite enormous.

I, personally, have no qualms whatsoever about their salaries -- I firmly believe they earn every penny. However, it still got me thinking about the opera industry and what the actual income of a typical opera singer pursuing a solo career was like. It's a difficult thing to figure out for several r...

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