Everyone at Virginia Opera hopes this finds you safe and well.
Since early April we have been working to assess the impacts of the pandemic on our operations, especially our forthcoming 2020-2021 Season. Utilizing all available resources, including the vast network of opera companies around the country through our service organization, OPERA America, we have thoroughly weighed every option available to us.
Due to the combined effects of the uncertainty surrounding the unique COVID-19 virus, the forecasted impacts of social distancing on our ability to welcome audiences, and the sizeable challenges of producing opera in a safe and responsible manner, under the constraints these all bring to bear, the Virginia Opera has made the difficult decision to re-imagine our 2020-2021 Season.
Under these conditions, it is our intention to delay the start of the season until February 2021. While initial strategies to reschedule began with moving our planned fall 2020 productions of Rigoletto and The Pirates of Penzance to the spring of 2021, we were unable to successfully address all of the considerations in doing so. The unfortunate result is that it will now be necessary to cancel Rigoletto (originally scheduled for October of this year) entirely. Fortunately, we have rescheduled The Pirates of Penzance to be produced and performed in April 2021—shifting from its originally scheduled performances in November 2020.
In addition, as part of our effort to present the most fiscally responsible season possible with the uncertain climate amidst the ongoing pandemic, we have elected to replace our previously announced production of Cold Mountain with a double bill featuring Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. La Voix Humaine (a company debut) and Gianni Schicchi (not seen on our stages in over 30 years) will be performed as a double bill in February 2021 as the first production of the 2020-2021 Season. Of note, we will perform Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro as originally scheduled.
To be clear, these revised 2021 plans will only take place if and when we are able to ensure that it is safe to do so for our audiences, artists, staff, and supporters. We will always follow the lead of our state and local government agencies and adhere to any required Social Distancing policies in place. We will continue to communicate our intentions, plans, and policies to you and all involved, in order to ensure you will have all of the necessary information, and we can reunite, safely and happily again, in the theater.
Opera is, at its core, a collaborative enterprise of humanity on a massive scale – and that collaboration takes time to assemble. Our artists onstage, our musicians in the orchestra pit, and our assembled audiences in each house, in combination, produce its thrilling experience—these are all at this moment threatened by the virus. The pandemic has forced us to acknowledge the realities and do what is best for all—that reality can be nothing but adjusting and re-imagining plans for the 2020-2021 Season.