Lyric Opera Orchestra goes out on strike

Tue Oct 09, 2018 at 10:06 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Lyric Opera Orchestra members picket outside the opera house on Tuesday morning.

The Lyric Opera Orchestra went out on strike Tuesday morning and musicians began picketing outside of the Civic Opera House.

The orchestra, represented by the Chicago Federation of Musicians, had been rehearsing without a contract since last month. The orchestra played the season-opening performance of Puccini’s La Boheme on Saturday night, but  negotiations broke down Monday with the company on a new contract.

Lyric Opera reached agreements on Monday with two of the three unions that had been working without contracts.

The company announced that it had reached agreements on new contracts with the local unions of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), which represents the Lyric Opera Chorus.

The IATSE contract calls for a reduced crew sizes for all shows and unspecified reductions in weeks of the opera season.

While deals were not released on the AGMA  contract, sources said a previous Lyric proposal required further reductions in the core chorus as well as fewer weeks in the opera season.

Noether the union nor Lyric Opera have yet released a statement on the strike nor responded to requests for comment.

The next scheduled performance is a matinee of Puccini’s La Boheme on Thursday.

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4 Responses to “Lyric Opera Orchestra goes out on strike”

  1. Posted Oct 09, 2018 at 2:29 pm by Dennis Connor

    I support the striking musicians..a quality orchestra deserves quality treatment and respect..please let me know how I can help…

  2. Posted Oct 09, 2018 at 3:12 pm by Donald Nathan

    The opera and its extraordinary musicians: orchestra, chorus, and soloists deserve a world class compensation for being world class performers. It is disheartening to read that the chairman (David Ormesher) and the board focused on the “business of opera”. This is NOT “big pharma” David. It is art. Great Art. One wonders how you justify Mr. Freud’s exorbitant salary while playing big business hardball.

  3. Posted Oct 09, 2018 at 5:23 pm by phil clark

    Maybe it’s time to end all the so-called outreach programs and to end a six figure salary to R. Fleming and to concentrate on creating grand opera with the greatest singers available, and to pay one of the great opera orchestras what they deserve!

  4. Posted Oct 11, 2018 at 2:56 pm by Martin McConnell

    I love Lyric Opera. It has become a very fine opera company, offering one fine presentation after another. I have great empathy with the orchestra musicians. They are correct to bemoan the artistic loss they are being asked to accept. Unfortunately, the economic losses which have befallen Lyric give the company little choice but to cut expenses. It appears to me that the strike is a misstep on the part of the musicians. I urge them to accept the bitter pill, sign the contract, and make the best of a most unfortunate situation by getting back to making music.

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