Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra Rejects Latest Offer From Management As Potential For More Canceled Performances Grows

By David Salazar

The Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra has rejected a new contract proposal from management.

Both sides of the labor dispute released statements late on Thursday explaining their perspectives on the latest occurrence.

Per the Orchestra’s statement, the new offer was “nothing more than a bogus PR stunt, and the musicians have no choice but to reject it.”

The representatives of the ensemble allege that the new offer guaranteed the organization weeks of work that it already had the right two. For example, the release notes that the management was offering up two weeks guaranteed this season in addition to the 22 it had already promised in its original offer. These two weeks are for the musical that the company offers at the end of the season, though the orchestra’s statement notes that the orchestra has to accept lower wages to make this production take place and that it was already part of their yearly work and not an addition.

Moreover, the representatives noted that in 2020 there would be a Ring Cycle, which would require four extra weeks of work.

“The additional weeks Lyric is ‘guaranteeing’ are weeks the Orchestra has always performed and would do anyway,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, management noted that the orchestra made no counter-proposal and were looking to add $2 million to the orchestra budget over the term of the contract.

As a result, Lyric performances will continue to be canceled, additional staff will be laid off, and the financial future of Lyric is in jeopardy,” management’s statement noted.

The company has already canceled two performances and it is looking more and more likely that Sunday’s performance of “La Bohème” might be another casualty of the ongoing dispute.

To this point, the two sides have gone back and forth debating their points and the orchestra’s recent statements on Thursday that LYOC General Director Anthony Freud has a track record of failure is a clear indication the tension remains high between the two sides.