Strike averted as Lyric Opera musicians and management come to terms

Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 10:58 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The slender lady will sing Saturday night.

A settlement has been reached between the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Federation of Musicians averting the strike planned for Saturday’s opening performance of Lehar’s The Merry Widow.

William Cernota, chairman of the player’s committee, said Friday morning that an agreement was reached after midnight, with Thursday afternoon’s negotiating session going late into the night.

Details will be released later today after the new contract’s details are released to the full opera orchestra, though early indications were that Lyric management largely got what it wanted. The Lyric Opera’s previous offer was for a 4 percent increase over three years and a two-week reduction in services starting in 2010-2011.

The agreement was recommended unanimously by the Lyric Opera members’ committee and is likely be ratified at a meeting of the full orchestra 4 .m. Friday.

Cernota said Friday there was “a meeting of minds,” and all sides were satisfied with the agreement that was reached, with wine flowing and mutual toasts continuing, in operetta-like fashion, until the wee hours of the morning.

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