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The Show Goes On Despite Contract Dispute at Lyric Opera

By Anthonia Akitunde in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 27, 2009 5:30PM

Lyric Opera. Photo by chadmagiera
Orchestra members of the Lyric Opera opened the season on Saturday with a performance of Puccini's "Tosca" without a contract, Chicago Breaking News reports.

As members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians unions, the Lyric Opera Orchestra and negotiators were unable to reach a contract agreement with Lyric's management last week. Talks ended Friday night with no further negotiations set and both sides no closer to an agreement.

The musician's proposed a four-year contract "containing concessions they hoped to recover, in part, by the end of the contract in 2012-13," the report said. Lyric gave a "final offer" one-year contract that included pay and benefit freezes.

Their previous three-year contract ended earlier this month.

In a statement cellist William Cernota, chair of the orchestra members committee, said the Lyric is trying to "impose regressive contract terms" because of lowered subscription sales, according to the report.

Lyric Opera's General Director William Mason said the orchestra's demands were "unrealistic" given the current state of the economy.

While it remains unseen how long orchestra members will play without a contract, there are two "Tosca" performances scheduled for this Wednesday and Saturday.

[Chicago Breaking News]