Lyric Opera of Chicago Could Reduce Season Schedule With New Labor Agreement

By David Salazar

The Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced that it has reached an agreement on a multi-year labor deal with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

The deal includes agreements with Stagehands Local 2, Wardrobe Local 769, Hair and Make-Up Local 476 and Treasurers and Ticket Sellers Local 750 and each was ratified unanimously by the membership of each IATSE local.

Among the major stipulations were an agreement to reduce crew sizes in each department and fewer guaranteed opera season weeks. Per a press release, this decision will allow the Lyric Opera of Chicago more latitude to align its season schedule with the demand of its prospective audience.

Most of the leaders of the organizations noted that these concessions were made in part because opera was going through a tough spell.

“Opera, in general, is experiencing difficult economic times,” were the words of Craig Carlson, Business Manager of Local 2. “Lyric has been a responsible employer for more than sixty years and as a good business partner, we’re obligated to help them. It’s important they maintain their standing as a world-class opera company.”

Dan Garnett, the Business Manager of Local 750, noted that ticket sales for classical events had dropped around the country while Thomas Pusateri, Business Manager of Wardrobe Local 769, put a more positive spin on the situation, noting that there will be less opera but more dance performances.

“Lyric Opera is looking forward to an exciting and successful future by recognizing the challenges of a rapidly changing and unpredictable business environment and by adapting in order to benefit from its opportunities,” concluded Anthony Freud, General Director of Lyric Opera. “We appreciate our IATSE family’s commitment to excellence, hard work and spirit of cooperation. We look forward to our continued collaboration as the company evolves.”