Opera in the Heights Suspends Fall Productions, Furloughs Some Staff, Institutes Pay Cuts

Another blow to the hopes of a swift return for Opera in the Heights.
Another blow to the hopes of a swift return for Opera in the Heights. Photo by Pin Lim
Opera in the Heights has joined several other arts organizations in Houston in reluctantly announcing that its plans for a fall performance schedule have been cancelled and that because of all the financial losses caused by COVID-19 restrictions, it is furloughing nearly half its staff.

The remaining employees, including Artistic & General Director Eiki Isomura will see their pay cut by 25 percent. The inability to sell tickets to opera productions as well as to mount fundraising events has left it, like other arts groups, without any revenue other than what it gets from sponsors, supporters and season ticket holders. 

"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 Isomura in a statement to the opera's supporters. “We strive to bring our staff back to full force as soon as possible with the help of our supporters."

Il Tovatore, scheduled to open in October is cancelled for the season. The opera's 25th Anniversary All-Star concert has been postponed to an undetermined date.

The opera, which performs at Lambert Hall in the Heights, is looking for outdoor and open air venues where they hope to mount productions of Lucia di Lammermoor and Le Nozze di Figaro in the spring.

Throughout the fall Opera in the Heights — like many other performance arts companies in Houston — will offer streamed digital productions. They also hope to offer some outdoor performances in August.

Season ticket holders for the 2020-21 season have a deadline of August 1 by which to contact Opera in the Heights if they do not want their Il Trovatore tickets converted into a tax-deductible donation to Opera in the Heights. 
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing