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Strike Threat Averted At Lyric Opera

Lyric Opera

(credit: Lyric Opera)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Lyric Opera has reached an agreement with the union representing its performers, thus averting the threat of a strike that could have delayed the season.

In a news release Wednesday afternoon, the Lyric announced that with the tentative agreement reached, all performances will go on as planned.

Further details on the agreement will be released once the agreement is ratified, which is expected by the end of next week, the release said.

The American Guild of Musical Artists had threatened an opening night strike when the new Lyric Opera season begins on Oct. 1, and also warned that it would picket the “Stars of Lyric Opera” free concert at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park Sept. 10, the Chicago Tribune reported late last week.

The union had complained that the Lyric wanted to cut the work week by a total of two weeks for its staff, and cut pay and benefits, the Tribune reported. A union executive told the newspaper that the Lyric had threatened a lockout on Aug. 22 if a new four-year contract wasn’t reached to replace the one that expired on April 30.

The union also told some of the opera stars set to appear for the coming season – among them Renee Fleming, Matthew Polenzani, and James Morris – that they could not work for Lyric or cross a picket line as long as a strike was on and no contract was in place, the Tribune reported.

The new Lyric Opera season begins with a performance of “The Tales of Hoffmann” by Jacques Offenbach on Oct. 1. Also on the schedule for this season are “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizetti, “Aida” by Giuseppe Verde, and “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.