Los Angeles Opera on Friday canceled two productions originally scheduled for May, while Long Beach Opera has called off the rest of its 2019-20 season.
The L.A. Opera announcement dovetailed with news that Los Angeles County’s safer-at-home order has been extended through May 15. Shows affected by the extended closure of the county Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion are Debussy’s “Pelléas and Mélisande,” which was scheduled to run May 2-23, and a concert performance of Handel’s “Rodelinda” that was on the calendar for May 8.
“With great regret, we had no option but to cancel these productions,” L.A. Opera President and Chief Executive Christopher Koelsch said in the announcement. “At this time, our collective top priority must be to do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of our audiences, our artists and our community. We are eager to take the stage again, just as soon as we are able, so that we can all experience the wonder and magic of opera together.”
The company had previously canceled performances of “Angel’s Bone” May 1-3. L.A. Opera continues to sell tickets for “The Marriage of Figaro” starting June 6.
Long Beach Opera wrote in its statement that hopes of postponing its season until summer became unrealistic. The company’s performance of “The Lighthouse,” originally scheduled to bow in March at the Aquarium of the Pacific, will become part of the 2021 four-opera season to be curated by MacArthur fellow Yuval Sharon. (Sharon’s avant-garde opera company the Industry had to shut down its critically acclaimed immersive production, “Sweet Land,” mid-run because of the coronavirus outbreak. That show is now available for streaming.)
Long Beach Opera said it is committed to paying artists affected by the cancellations at least 50% of their contracted fees. It is asking for donations from the community to help raise that amount to 100%.
L.A. Opera has established the L.A. Opera Relief Fund with the goal of helping artists and staff members financially affected by its cancellations.
The news comes after some of the city’s largest arts organizations, including Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, canceled the remainder of their seasons and instituted layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs.