Bloomberg News has a useful look at compensation at some of the New York-based nonprofit arts institutions. "Nonprofit" is a term of the art here, because while the organizations may be structured as nonprofits under the tax law and while their goal may not be to maximize profits, the amount of money being paid out in compensation to the employees is more than at many institutions whose goal is to make a profit.
Bloomberg reports that at the Metropolitan Opera, "Master electrician Paul Donahue, earned $516,577 in pay and benefits in 2010, up 18 percent from a year earlier. The stagehand's compensation topped that of the best-paid stagehand at Carnegie Hall, Dennis O'Connell, who earned $436,097 that year, according to the tax return of Carnegie Hall."
A Met spokesman told Bloomberg the electrician's compensation "had to do with accrued vacation payments and the variable nature of the Met's work schedule."
The Met's music director, James Levine, earned $2.1 million in 2010, according to Bloomberg, while the opera's general manager, Peter Gelb, earned $1.4 million. "A car and driver is available for business purposes seven days a week," for Mr. Gelb's use, the Bloomberg article says.
There's a part of me that wishes that in all these compensation-related articles the reporter and editor who are responsible for them have to disclose their own annual compensation as a kind of reciprocal transparency. But I suppose the difference is that Bloomberg L.P. is a privately held company, while the firms that disclose compensation are either public charities or public companies responsible to a large number of shareholders.