The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) opened its 2013-14 season at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul Friday night to rave reviews, reports the Pioneer Press.
A contract dispute between the musicians and management last year led to a seven-month lockout, gutting most of the 2012-13 season and putting the ensemble's future in jeopardy.
The Pioneer Press reports Friday night's return had the potential to be a sad one as about a dozen musicians took early retirement and their experience and expertise will be sorely missed.
However, the paper said the performance "made a convincing argument not only that the SPCO will remain a major player on the international music scene, but also stated eloquently an outstanding orchestra's place in modern civilization."
The SPCO's new season continues this weekend with concerts tonight and tomorrow. Start times and locations are below.
- 8 p.m. Saturday, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul
- 2 p.m. Sunday, Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 Fourth St. S., Minneapolis
Meanwhile, on the Minneapolis side of the River, the labor standoff that cost the Minnesota Orchestra its entire last season was extended on Thursday, when the orchestra’s locked-out players voted to reject the latest contract offer put forward by management.
The offer that the musicians rejected called for the players to return to work for two months at their old salaries, and then, if no new deal was struck, to work for two years with their base pay cut by nearly a quarter.