The Lyric Opera of Chicago has gone silent this week in the wake of a strike announced Tuesday by the Chicago Federation of Musicians ( CFM ). The CFM represents the Lyric's orchestral musicians. After the Oct. 9 strike announcement, the Lyric cancelled the Saturday, Oct. 13 opening of Idomeneo, the much-anticipated second opera of the season. Also cancelled: The Wednesday, Oct. 11 performance of La Boheme, the Thursday, Oct. 12 Choir, Choir, Choir! event and an open house slated for Oct. 13. All backstage tours have been cancelled as well.
The CFM released a statement detailing issues that led to the strike: "Management is seeking to cut the pay, services and number of musicians while CEO Anthony Freud's pay has grown 18% in the last four years. The Lyric budget has exploded from $60 million to $84 million, and not a dime of that has gone to the musicians."
The Lyric released a statement:
"We offered CFM wage increases in exchange for a reduction in guaranteed work weeks that better aligns with audience demand and increased scheduling flexibility that will allow us to access additional rental income. The leadership of our other two unions the American Guild of Musical Artists ( AGMA ) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees ( IATSE ) recognized the need for these essential changes and have agreed to multi-year agreements. Only CFM refused. Lyric urges CFM to continue to talk and perform."
Ticket holders were being contacted Tuesday. The Lyric's statements don't indicate whether refunds or rescheduling will be offered ticket holders. La Boheme, which opened last Saturday, is scheduled to close Oct. 20.