Dallas Opera Postpones Opening of 2020-21 Season, Announces Cuts to Administrative Staff

By David Salazar

The Dallas Opera has altered its 2020-21 season in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Due to social distancing requirements, the season will no longer be able to commence in the fall of 2020. It was originally scheduled to begin on Oct. 9, but will now open with the world premiere of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” on March 5, 2021. Two additional performances of the work have been added as well.

The company will also add four performances of “The Marriage of Figaro” and five performances of “Tosca.” New cast members for “Figaro” include Kyle Ketelsen, Madison Leonard, Sara Garland, and John Holiday. Lidiya Yankovskaya will conduct.

Meanwhile, nine performances have been cancelled with a production of “Lohengrin” replaced by “Don Carlo” and “Orfeo ed Euridice” completely canceled. “Don Carlo” was recently canceled during the 2019-20 season due to COVID-19.

The production will star David Leigh, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Leah Crocetto, Jamie Barton, and Lucas Meachem. Emmanuel Villaume will conduct.

The cast for “Tosca” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” will remain intact from the original season announcement.

“This virus is a serious threat to all the hallmarks of grand opera, which include amassing huge forces on stage and in the pit, bringing large crowds together in our theaters, assembling casts from all over the world, and listening to singers, sometimes in passionate embrace, filling the hall with powerful voices and glorious sound without the use of microphones,” said Dallas Opera General Manager and CEO Ian Derrer in a press release.

In the absence of fall performances, the company will continue to interact with opera audiences via its TDO Network.

In addition to news on the revamped season, the company announced that it had suffered a loss of $1.6 million due to the canceled portion of the 2019-20 season. It is also anticipated that ticket revenue for 2021 will fall short of original expectations.

The company has also laid off five administrative staff members and six full-time positions will become part time or seasonal; two positions will also be furloughed. In sum, the administrative and artistic staff is being reduced from 40 to 26.