“Pirates of Penzance” postponed amid Delta variant spread

Our deep commitment to our community means that we must continue to play our role in stopping the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The rapidly escalating situation in Alaska is overwhelming our hospitals and endangering our neighbors. With The Pirates of Penzance rehearsals set to begin in less than a week we cannot in good conscience add fuel to the fire that is the Delta variant running rampant among us. Assembling its large cast, chorus, artistic team, crew, orchestra, and technical team of seventy-five members of our Anchorage Opera family for the extensive period of intimate staging and musical rehearsals, even with the most stringent mitigation protocols in place, would do just that. We have therefore come to the extremely difficult decision to postpone the performances scheduled for Oct 22, 23 & 24, 2021 at the Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. In just the past week several singers have asked to be released from their contracts due to the dire situation in Alaska which could jeopardize not only their health and that of their loved ones, but their careers if they were to suffer a breakthrough infection with possible long term respiratory effects. Indeed, some of our fully vaccinated singers from previous seasons are now suffering ‘long haul COVID’ after only mild breakthrough cases. We have a commitment to them, and to you, as part of our family.

We are deeply saddened that we are unable to bring much needed laughter to our community with Gilbert & Sullivan’s hilarious The Pirates of Penzance as planned but are working diligently to reschedule the production, hopefully with the same stellar artists, designers, and technical team. Our preview event, TAKE ONE: The Pirates of Penzance scheduled for October 10 at the private residence of Tim Pearson and Brian Chen will also take place at a later date.

As you may imagine, the postponement of this production impacts our company financially and the longer we wait to hit the brakes on it the more it would do so, with a high probability of having to postpone anyway, as COVID cases in our cast and team are very likely, necessitating quarantines of all exposed that could even extend beyond the performance dates. We also feel we owe it to our Artists, Orchestra Musicians, Stage Director, Conductor, Chorus Master, Costume, Hair/Makeup, Scenic and Lighting Designers to compensate them in part. All of them cleared their schedules to perform with us, sometimes turning down other work, and all have already invested a great deal of time and effort in their preparations. They are our family, and we cannot leave them in the lurch. Our contractual obligations with the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts will also be fulfilled.

As Broadway in New York and opera companies across the country are beginning to fully open it may be difficult to understand why we have made this agonizing decision. The simple truth is that our state and our community are not at the same stage of the pandemic as the cities where that is occurring. With positivity rates still registering in the HIGH risk category in Anchorage we must honor our commitment to “Enrich. Inspire. Educate. Collaborate. Build Community, one note at a time” by doing everything in our power to protect each other. As we work together to overcome this challenge, we’re humbled and grateful in the knowledge that our strongest asset is the continuing support of our community. You are part of our Anchorage Opera family, and we can’t wait to bring you our 2021-22 Season of Healing, after what we hope will be a short “intermission”, when it is once again safe to do so.

What are your options as a ticket holder?

  • Hold on to your ticket – it will be valid for the rescheduled production
  • Refund your ticket – Contact CenterTix at 907-263-ARTS or com and they will gladly help both Season Subscription and single ticket holders
  • Donate your ticket back to Anchorage Opera – your generosity helps us make magic onstage…and off

If you are able, please consider an additional donation to help Anchorage Opera support our artists who continue to struggle with their livelihoods during the pandemic. Opera with all its ‘moving parts’, and opera singers in particular have proven to be one of the most efficient means of spreading the virus. Thank you for helping our artists survive to perform with us again. To learn more about the dedicated Artist Fund we’ve established for this purpose, please CLICK HERE>>>