Curtain down

Favorite Heights opera cancels fall season and makes dramatic cuts

Favorite Heights opera cancels fall season and makes dramatic cuts

Opera in the Heights Tosca
The beloved local opera group has suffered major financial losses, but will proceed with virtual shows at a later date.  Photo courtesy of Opera in The Heights

Another beloved Houston performing arts group has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. Opera in the Heights announced that its fall productions have been canceled, “after careful consideration of guidance from public health experts, as well as surveys of our patrons, singers, orchestra, and advisers,” according to an online statement.

The abrupt cut marks a postponement of the group’s 25h Anniversary All-Stars concert, and a cancellation of Il Trovatore, which was to open in October.

Like groups such as the Alley Theatre and Houston Ballet, Opera in the Heights announced that it was forced to reduce staff by furloughing nearly half of the company's positions, and cutting salaries of the remaining staff by 25 percent.

“This is the hardest part, knowing how our talented and devoted team members have poured their hearts into the company and have made it their livelihood,” said artistic and general director, Eiki Isomura (who has also taken a cut in salary). “We strive to bring our staff back to full force as soon as possible with the help of our supporters.”

But the shows will go on. Opera in the Heights announced a series of short-format digital productions for streaming in the fall, as well as pop-up outdoor performances. Performance dates will be announced next month.

As for spring, Lucia di Lammermoor and Le Nozze di Figaro will proceed “with modifications in consultation with health and event safety professionals,” per the statement. The organization is securing outdoor/open-air venues for safe, socially distanced performances.

Season ticket holders who wish to contribute to the local group can convert the value of their Il Trovatore ticket into a tax-deductible charitable donation. Interested subscribers should email info@operaintheheights.org by August 1.

“We wish to thank our supporters, artists, volunteers, and everyone who has made Opera in the Heights the special community it has been for 25 years,” the statement added. “We cannot wait to be back together to share in the power of opera once again.”