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Top US opera company reaches deal with striking musicians

News Desk

Agence France-Presse

Chicago, United States | Tue, October 16, 2018 | 11:05 pm
Top US opera company reaches deal with striking musicians

Civic Opera House in Chicago, home of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. (Shutterstock/elesi)

The show will go on again this week for one of America's premier arts institutions after Lyric Opera of Chicago made a deal with its orchestra to end a week-long strike.

The action had threatened the company's performance season just as it had been getting under way, with the musicians complaining of cost-cutting efforts they said would reduce quality on stage. 

Performances of Puccini's La Boheme and Mozart's Idomeneo were canceled last week -- but will resume after the company compromised over its belt-tightening. 

An agreement ratified Sunday allows for the full-time orchestra to shed four players, instead of the reduction of five proposed by the company. 

Management held on to a reduction of the operatic performance calendar from 24 weeks to 22 but agreed to increase pay for musicians who perform in musical theater shows. 

Read also: Top US opera company's musicians go on strike

Lyric has reduced opera performances over the last decade from 86 a year to 56, and added musical theater to its repertoire to generate new interest. 

Musicals usually employ a much smaller orchestra than operas.

"In the end, both parties compromised," the musicians said in a statement. 

They added that a longer strike would have been destructive to the 65-year-old company and its workers -- including the chorus and technical crew who have already reached separate union contracts with management.

"These agreements will protect the artistic brilliance on our stage while also helping to ensure Lyric's long-term financial security," the management said in an emailed announcement. 

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