September 27, 2009

Chicago opera opens despite labor troubles

Members of Chicago's Lyric Opera Orchestra played the opening night of the company's new season despite stalled contract negotiations, observers said.

The musicians voted Saturday afternoon to go ahead with the opening night performance of Puccini's Tosca even though negotiations between the Lyric Opera and the Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208 are at an impasse, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

William Cernota, a cellist and the chairman of the orchestra's members committee, told the newspaper the musicians played opening night despite voting 50-7 to reject what management has called its final offer.

They've engaged in regressive bargaining, said Cernota, adding that at no point did we want to jeopardize opening night. We've all worked too hard to let that happen.

Lyric Opera general director William Mason told the Sun-Times he is not sure when negotiations would resume.