Lyric Opera Director Explains Need To Adapt, Amid Orchestra Strike

Steve Miller
October 10, 2018 - 3:26 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Lyric Opera orchestra has been on strike since Tuesday, and the general director of the opera says he's asking the union to help ensure that Lyric continues as a "world class company."

Lyric Opera's General Director Anthony Freud said what it takes to be one of the world's great opera companies in 2018 -- and what it will take years from now -- is different from two decades ago.

"What we are proposing is that we develop, we evolve in ways that will allow us to continue to be one of the world's great opera companies, but for the 21st century,” he said.

And that means some cutbacks in the length of the season, which is one reason the musicians union is on strike.

Anthony Freud/WBBM Newsradio

"The heart of what we do will always be a world-class grand opera season. I don't believe that opera is going out of fashion," Freud said.

The bottom line, though, is that people aren't flocking to grand opera the way they used to.

"We need to be relevant. We need to be accessible. We need to be indispensable to our city. And that's what we're working to ensure,” Freud said.

Meanwhile, tourists from Switzerland had to go to the box office to get refunds for “La Boheme,” a casualty of the strike.

WBBM: So they gave you a refund?

"Yes."

WBBM: Did they tell you there's a strike on?

"No. No. Just, 'Cannot see it.'"