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Opera Saratoga Announces Cancellation Of 2020 Summer Festival

Opera Saratoga Announces Cancellation Of 2020 Summer Festival

For almost 60 years, Opera Saratoga has brought together some of the world's most exciting operatic artists to appear alongside extraordinary emerging singers, creating an exceptional Festival every summer, showcasing operatic classics, contemporary American works, and concerts featuring art song, opera, and musical theater. The annual Festival has become one of the first signs of summer in Saratoga Springs, with concerts beginning in May, leading up to fully staged productions starting in June and running into July. The Festival brings together music lovers from across the region to share their passion for opera alongside visitors from around the country.

It is therefore with great regret that Opera Saratoga must announce the cancellation of the 2020 Summer Festival, originally scheduled to run from May 18th to July 5th, due to COVID-19.

"As we have been monitoring the spread of COVID-19, it has become clear to us that proceeding with the Festival is no longer possible," said Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson. "From a practical perspective, with Saratoga and much of the country essentially shut down, it has become impossible for us to continue building the sets and costumes for the opera productions that were to premiere at Opera Saratoga this summer. We also had artists scheduled to join us from around the globe in early May to begin rehearsals, and it is clear that this is not realistic or prudent under the circumstances. The question is no longer how can we make this work - the question is how can we make sure everyone is safe. The answer, unfortunately, is to cancel the Festival this summer. Our first responsibility must be the safety and well-being of our community, our audiences, our artists, and our staff. The entire Opera Saratoga family looks forward to sharing the joy and exhilaration of live opera and classical vocal music with our community when we know it is safe to do so again."

Cancellation of the Summer Festival creates significant financial challenges for Opera Saratoga. Not only are all concerts and performances of The Pirates of Penzance, Sky on Swings, and Madama Butterfly cancelled, but the company's annual gala, Opera on the Lake - originally scheduled for June 7th - is being postponed. Revenue during the spring and summer historically has totaled almost 70% of the company's annual income. As the company works to raise the additional funds needed to bridge this difficult time, Edelson and the Board of Directors are committed to providing assistance to the over 100 artists, artisans, and technicians that were depending on the company for their livelihood this summer.

"While we are working to ensure that Opera Saratoga emerges from this crisis, we also have an ethical responsibility to do our best to help those who bring Opera Saratoga to life every summer," Edelson said. "COVID-19 has not only endangered the health and lives of millions around the world, it has hit the arts sector particularly hard. Those who work passionately on stage and behind the scenes are not only losing income - in many cases, they are losing health care, and have been out of work from the earliest public venue closings in early March. This has been the most heartbreaking and difficult part of making the decision to cancel the Festival, as the people who are truly the heart and soul of the company are the ones who are most seriously impacted by the cancellation, which exacerbates the financial hardship they are already under. And when this is over, it is these very people who are going to reinvigorate our lives with their extraordinary talents. The degree to which we have the ability to pay our seasonal artists and staff this summer is currently being determined, but we owe it to them to provide whatever support we can."

To that end, Opera Saratoga is asking everyone who has already purchased tickets to the 2020 Festival to consider donating these tickets to be used to support the artists and seasonal staff most directly impacted by the cancellation of the Festival. Opera Saratoga will be contacting everyone who has already purchased tickets to the 2020 Festival to provide them with details about how they can convert their purchase into a tax-deductible donation; or, a full credit to their Opera Saratoga account for use on any future Festival ticket purchases - a value which will never expire. Ticket holders may also elect to receive a full refund. Please note that Opera Saratoga staff is currently operating remotely, so the company requests that patrons please not call the office at this time. Every ticket holder will be contacted personally over the next week, but the company asks for the public's patience as there may be slight delays in response time while company staff responds to everyone personally.

"Opera has the incredible power to draw people out of their regular lives and take them on journeys of imagination, discovery, and shared experience," said Edelson. "Though we are having to make difficult decisions right now, we are doing so to make sure that everyone is safe; and, so that Opera Saratoga will be ready to create transformative and vital experiences, creating connection and community through the power of opera when these challenging times have passed."

Opera Saratoga Announces Cancellation Of 2020 Summer Festival

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