Bloody Monday

For 14 workers of the struggling opera, the fat lady sings

Vasquez later said that he wasn't aware of the opera layoffs at the time, but was surprised by them.

"My concern was that you have to balance those big salaries -- and the salaries shocked me, okay, they shocked me -- but you have to balance those with the other departments" in HGO, he said. "Everyone knows what the demographics are in Houston and how they are changing, and to cut in your education and outreach [to the Hispanic community] doesn't make sense."

One of those laid off, Anna Maria Peña, had worked in education and outreach for HGO for five years.

"To show up for work on Monday morning and be told, 'Sorry, you don't have a job anymore,' I was in shock," she said. "We thought we were in trouble, but we didn't think it would hit this hard."

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