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Lyric singers agree to 5% pay cut

The union representing Lyric Opera of Chicago’s principal singers, choristers, non-singing actors, dancers and production staff has ratified a one-year contract calling for a 5 percent cut in base salaries.

Details of the contract with the American Guild of Musical Artists were released Monday afternoon after its ratification by all parties.

Management had wanted a multiyear pact with heavy sacrifices by AGMA. The union had hoped for a one-season agreement with a freeze on pay and benefits.

One sticking point: Lyric’s plans for an annual off-season music theater production, to start with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” in spring 2013. Although the dates for this initiative do not fall under the new contract, the parties agreed on a framework for terms on cast sizes and other matters, said Alan Gordon, AGMA national executive director.

According to a statement released by Lyric president and CEO Kenneth G. Pigott, this means “Oklahoma!” now can be presented “within a cost structure that is competitive with other Chicago producers.”

Lyric’s 2011-12 season begins Oct. 1 with “Tales of Hoffmann.”

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