North America's farthest north professional opera company succumbs to COVID - Must Read AlaskaQ
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North America’s farthest north professional opera company succumbs to COVID

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After 15 years, the northern-most opera company in the United States is closing due to the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout from efforts to contain the virus.

Opera Fairbanks has been a professional opera company since organizing as a A 501c3 nonprofit entity in 2005. According to Dun & Bradstreet, it had one employee and an annual budget of $194,000.

The group’s 2019 season included Trouble in Paradise by Leonard Bernstein, Falstaff by Guiseppe Verdi, and The Impresario (Der Schauspieldirektor) by W.A. Mozart (2019 Opera Ball). After the pandemic hit, the opera company went dormant and the board of directors voted to disband it.

In September, the Metropolitan Opera in New York decided to stay closed until Sept. 27, 2021, saying it would only resume performing when “a vaccine is widely in use, herd immunity is established, and the wearing of masks and social distancing is no longer a medical requirement.” The closure is estimated to cost The Met more than $100 million in lost revenue.

Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre, known as FLOT, continues as a theater group in the Golden Heart City; it has been providing community musical theater opportunities in Fairbanks, Alaska for over 51 years, since its founding in March of 1970.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The fat lady has finally sung, and her final song was “Requiem for Sanity”.

  • These actors at FLOT are all a bunch of old senior citizens who still pretend about themselves. All Lefties and Democrats. Their acting skills were never better than grade C+.

  • Ok what was the video clip? Who was performing that opera? The young man singing is amazingly talented – surely that was not Fairbanks? NY Metropolitan Opera?

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