The Metropolitan Opera is pushing for a federal mediator to help settle a contract dispute that could result in a lockout as early as Friday.
Opera officials suggested a mediator during contract talks on Wednesday.
The union representing opera musicians says it is considering mediation, but it wants the opera to extend the current contract and back away from its lockout threat.
The opera unions' contracts expired Thursday.
The Met ran a deficit of nearly $3 million last season on a budget of $327 million.
It has reported a drop in box office revenue and rising costs.