Members of the Lyric Opera orchestra have announced they’ll go on strike rather than play the opening night performance of The Merry Widow on Saturday, December 5, unless a contract agreement is reached before then. As we reported in October, the Lyric players, represented by the Chicago Federation of Musicians, have been performing without a contract since the season opened. In a statement announcing the strike, Members Committee chair William Cernota said “negotiations are stalled” and Lyric is “using the current economic downturn as an excuse for gutting our contract.” According to Lyric, a meeting is set for Thursday, December 3.