Seattle Opera Cancels First Production of 2020-21 Season

By Francisco Salazar

The Seattle Opera has announced the cancellation its fall production of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci.”

The company revealed in a press statement that due to the global pandemic, it was forced to cancel the first production of the season. The cancellation will result in the loss of work for more than 220 singers, crew, and musicians.

Additionally, with the end of funding from the Paycheck Protection Act looming in the next two weeks, Seattle Opera has furloughed almost 60 percent of its administrative staff.

In a statement General Director Christina Scheppelmann said, “It is a deeply painful moment for us as a company, region, and world. Considering King County and Washington State are not yet open for large gatherings, COVID-19 has forced us to remain closed for safety as a means of protecting all artists, musicians, and our audiences. In addition, we have had to make difficult decisions to ensure Seattle Opera’s future. While inevitable, these decisions have been devastating to the livelihoods of our artists and administrative staff.”

The double-bill of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” was expected to open on Saturday, August 8 at McCaw Hall. Ticketholders will now have their tickets transferred to August 2021, when the company presents “La Bohème.”

In addition to the cancellation, Seattle Opera’s $2.3 million loan from the federal government’s Payroll Protection Program, which ensured payroll for many staff and production members, will end after eight weeks on June 16. Therefore, the company will reduce its administrative staff. Currently the company has furloughed 44 employees, seven have been put on part-time hours, and the remaining 30 are operating on salaries reduced by 15-50 percent.

Seattle Opera is expected to now open in October with a production of “L’Elisir d’Amore.”