The layoffs are part of a round of cuts totaling $700,000, or 8.4 percent of the budget for administrative salaries and benefits. Spending on part-time and seasonal employees has also been reduced.
The cuts come as the company nears the end of three well-received—but expensive—performances of Wagner's Ring cycle.
"Arts organizations all over the country have found themselves having to cope with a different environment since the economic downturn of 2000 and 2001, and the events of 9/11," said general director William Mason in a statement. "Many of our sister companies have incurred substantial deficits, and all of us are finding it more challenging than ever to sell tickets and raise money. In the current economic climate, maintaining Lyric's financial integrity without negatively affecting its artistic excellence requires a more rigorous approach to expense control. Regretfully, staff reductions are among the actions we have had to take."
The Lyric posted a $1.1 million deficit in 2002-03 and a $700,000 surplus in 2003-04. Mason said that he expected the company to balance its budget this season.