In the biggest blow yet to the Fort Worth arts scene, the Fort Worth Opera has canceled its entire 2020 festival amid the coronavirus pandemic. While other Fort Worth arts organizations have canceled upcoming concerts, the festival, essentially, was the opera's whole season.
Scheduled for April 17-May 3, the nine-performance festival was to have included Giacomo Puccini’s beloved La Bohème, Johann Strauss II’s comedic Revenge of the Bat (Die Fledermaus), and, most notably, the world premiere of Héctor Armienta’s Zorro.
All the productions will be rescheduled and announced when venues become available (but not necessarily in a festival format), they announced on March 17. And their Masked Gala, the largest fundraiser of the year — scheduled to coincide with the festival on April 18 — will be rescheduled for a later date.
However, they have canceled an additional spring concert starring soprano Talise Trevigne at The Amon Carter Museum of American Art and their Pops at the Pavilion at The Kimbell Art Museum.
"Protecting the health and well-being of our audience members, guest artists, musicians, staff members, production teams, technical crew, and valued collaborators is of paramount importance to Fort Worth Opera and its Board of Trustees," FWO says in a release. "In light of the President of the United States' declaration of a national emergency, along with the recommendations and restrictions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the City of Fort Worth, and local health authorities, FWO believes that this course of action is the responsible way to keep our community as safe as possible during the ongoing crisis."
Ticketholders may donate the value of their tickets or subscription back to FWO as a tax-deductible contribution. Or they may credit the value of tickets or subscriptions to their account and apply the full value to any future FWO performance or 2020-2021 subscription renewal. All ticketholders will be contacted in the next 7-10 days, FWO says.
The news comes at a particularly bad time for the company, which will mark its 75th anniversary next year. In January, general director Tuomas Hiltunen resigned after two seasons. As they search for a new leader, Nelson Claytor, FWO chairman of the Board of Trustees, is the acting general director. Joe Illick remains artistic director.
FWO is the oldest continually operating opera company in Texas.
"Fort Worth Opera has played an integral part in the heritage, culture, and community life of the city of Fort Worth for 74 years," they say in the release. "We look forward to returning to the stage next season in celebration of our 75th anniversary, with more thrilling music, captivating stories, world-class artistry, and exciting concert events.
"In the meantime, we stand in solidarity with everyone to minimize health risks and to offset the many inevitable hardships that the coming weeks and months may bring."
For more information, visit their website.