AGMA Ratifies 5-Year Agreement with Lyric Opera of Chicago

Published October 11, 2023   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

The new collective bargaining agreement between AGMA and Lyric Opera of Chicago was approved by AGMA leadership on September 26, after being ratified by the shop.

Thank you to the negotiating committee for all their work on this 5-year agreement!



  • All Artists receive the same dollar increase each year. Increases over 5 years are between 12% and 50% depending on classification
    • Principal Artists receive 20% of their per performance fees upon arrival
    • Directors, Associate Directors and Choreographers receive all per diem upon arrival
    • All payments will be made electronically
    • Lyric Opera will cover all wire transfer fees to overseas bank accounts
    • All Artists eligible for vacation may use their annual vacation time on a weekly basis at any time during the season


  • Tax status (W-2 or 1099) and a breakdown of fees, per diem and housing (if any) will be made clear at the time of contracting
    • Principal Artists can divert a portion of fees on a pre-tax basis to pay for health insurance from the AGMA Health Fund and can use their Plan B bonus (10% of fees up to a maximum of $3,600) retirement payment to offset the costs to the Principal Artist 
    • Principal Artists will be given an overview schedule for the production
    • All Artists will be notified of Lyric Unlimited Auditions and Musical Auditions
    • Ensemble Member Roles will be limited based on the number of operas in a season
    • Physical Therapy will be provided for Solo Dancers when appropriate
    • All Artists (including Principal Artists, Stage Directors and Choreographers) will be notified of productions scheduled for video or audio broadcast


  • Auditions:
    • Regular Choristers will re-audition on three-year cycles based upon the year they are engaged. 
    • Supp Choristers who were employed during the last 5 seasons will be invited to auditions upon request
    • Core Supp Choristers will be notified of Regular Chorister Auditions and invited to any call back auditions that are held
    • Core Supp and Supp Choristers who are not engaged to fill an opening as a Regular Chorister may request a meeting with
      the Chorus Director to discuss the reasons that an offer of engagement was not made
  • Make-up Changes:
    • Lyric Opera will send out a video on the application of basic makeup prior to a chorister’s first production
    • A written explanation of make-up requirements will be provided with the notice of the Chorister’s make-up time
  • Sick Days, Personal Days and Work Conflict Changes:
    • If there are 6 or fewer performances of a production, a Chorister may take personal time for 1 performance
    • If there are 9 or fewer hours of music rehearsals of a production, a Chorister may take 1/3 the number of hours of rehearsal for personal time
    • All Core Supp and Supp Choristers can use Work Conflict to be excused from certain rehearsals and performances
      • Work Conflict cannot be taken for a Dress rehearsal and Core Supp and Supp Choristers must report and clear conflicts prior to signing their contract
  • Number of Choristers:
    • Two new Regular Choristers will be engaged for the 23/24 Season
    • The number of Regular Choristers will increase from 40 to 44 over 5 years
  • Chorus Weeks:
    • Regular Choristers are guaranteed a minimum of 26 weeks, however not every chorister needs to be engaged for the same weeks 
    • Beginning in the 2025-2026 Season, the Lyric Opera can engage some, but not all, Regular Choristers for up to 29 weeks or more.  However, if any Regular Chorister is engaged for more than 29 weeks, all Regular Choristers must be engaged for the number of weeks in excess of 29


  • Lyric Opera must engage 9 Regular Production Staff Members for seasons with 6 or fewer productions and 10 Regular Production Staff Members for seasons with 7 or more productions
  • Regular Production Staff Members will be engaged continuously from the week prior to their first staging rehearsal of the season through their last production prior to the Christmas Break and from the week prior to their first staging rehearsal following the Christmas Break through their last production of the season
  • Prep week changes:
    • All Production Staff members must be engaged for the week before their first staging rehearsal of the season and their first staging rehearsal following the holiday break
    • Stage Managers and Assistant Directors will be engaged for one prep week before each pre-production tech period for their productions  
    • The Super Captain will be engaged 3 weeks prior to the first audition of the season and one week prior to the first audition following the holiday break
    • Production Staff prep weeks can be scheduled by mutual agreement
    • There is a new Production Staff review process.
  • All time spent by Production Staff Members while on contract performing assigned work, including creating and updating paperwork, in meetings, preparing schedules, responding to emails and making/receiving phone calls or texts, must be recorded as time worked and compensated


  • Fight Captains’ duties are clarified so that Artists are not allowed to be auditioned, restaged or directed by the Fight Captain
  • Fight Directors will be paid for their meetings with the Director and necessary work prior to staging rehearsals


IDEA Agreements

  • Lyric Opera will provide an appropriate space for nursing parents
  • Lyric Opera and AGMA support equal employment opportunities for all and recognize the importance of an inclusive, diverse working environment in which all participants are free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation
  • Lyric Opera and AGMA will cooperate in efforts to support and improve inclusivity and diversity in all facets of the workplace, including but not limited to auditions, referrals, training, and all terms and conditions of employment
  • Lyric Opera will distribute its anti-harassment and anti-racism policies to all Artists
  • Lyric Opera is initiating new anti-harassment training which will be rolled out to all Artists beginning in the first calendar quarter 2024 and hopes to broaden its training opportunities to include other training in the future
  • Lyric Opera maintains and publicizes an anonymous reporting system, which allows Artists to share feedback and concerns about harassment, bias or other matters.  
  • AGMA representatives can assist AGMA Artists in reporting violations of policies, and AGMA can assist any AGMA Artist who is subject of a reported violation
  • Lyric Opera is partnering with HBCUs and other organizations and is posting its notices of auditions and job openings in a wide variety of locations in an attempt to reach and recruit underrepresented groups.  AGMA will assist Lyric Opera in identifying posting opportunities
  • Artists are encouraged to share their pronouns and use the preferred pronouns of others
  • Lyric Opera is committed to presenting productions that diversify both the range of stories told and the storytellers engaged to tell them
  • Lyric Opera will provide AGMA with an update with regard to IDEA annually
  • Lyric Opera has an IDEA Working Committee and invites AGMA and other Artists to participate.  The IDEA Working Committee explores ways to embed IDEA principles throughout the organization
  • Changing the Agreements with AGMA to be gender neutral


Conflicts between Lyric Opera and Lyric Unlimited:

There is a new process for resolving conflicts between Lyric Opera services and Lyric Unlimited services.