Seattle Opera announced on Thursday the cancellation of the first opera of its 2020-21 season: The double bill of “Cavalleria rusticana” and “Pagliacci,” which was to have opened the season Aug. 8 at McCaw Hall. Not only will that mean a loss of jobs for more than 220 singers, crew and musicians, but much of the administrative staff has been furloughed.
“It is a deeply painful moment for us as a company, region, and world,” said Seattle Opera general director Christina Scheppelmann, in a statement. “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.”
In anticipation of the loss of its Paycheck Protection Act funding by June 16, the company is furloughing 55% of its administrative staff. Of those who remain, all are on reduced salaries or hours (with the exception of full-time workers making less than $50,000 annually).
Those with tickets to “Cavalleria rusticana” and “Pagliacci” will have their tickets transferred to the company’s planned performances of “La boheme” in August 2021. The company plans to send an email with instructions for ticketholders in the next few days.