On March 26th, Opera Santa Barbara (Opera SB) announced it would cancel the remainder of its season citing Force Majeure.
However, Opera SB has committed to paying all "artists, craftspeople, and orchestra musicians" 50% of the promised fees, and will honor its contract with the Lobero Theatre for performances of 'Romeo and Juliet' on May 1st and 3rd, 2020.
The company will stream recordings of their last three opera performances -Il Postino, The Crucible, and Eugene Onegin. All Opera SB artists in these streamed productions will be paid an honorarium.
This is the first reported artist pay for Force Majeure streaming in the United States. For example, at least one source confirms the Metropolitan Opera will not provide any payment to artists for its free daily streaming in March of twenty-one Live in HD operas.
Opera SB sent the following email to all parties involved in the last four productions, posted below:
In a March 26th video statement to patrons, Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas made it clear that regardless of the financial challenge, the OSB saw it as mission critical to pay its artists:
“The Opera Santa Barbara board of directors and I are also making it a priority to continue to provide income to our artists, craftspeople, and orchestra musicians, even when our theatres are closed. Right now these are our most vulnerable constituents, as they have been hit hard by cancellations locally, regionally, and nationally.
Team OSB and I are working remotely but tirelessly to make sure Opera SB remains an inspiration for our community during these uncertain times and we’re ready to hit the ground running when life returns to normal."
Soloists are grateful for the board's decision and Protopapas' leadership during the Covid-19 crisis:
"Kostis Protopapas and the OSB board and staff are an example to the rest of the opera community. They are truly stepping up to help those of us artists who are most in need right now. We are all struggling in this time- but we all must work together to make sure EVERYBODY survives through this crisis." More to follow as the story develops.