Chicago's Lyric Opera and Joffrey Ballet cancel 2020 performances

  • The Joffrey Ballet has canceled its 2020 runs of "Manon" and "The Nutcracker," pictured, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    The Joffrey Ballet has canceled its 2020 runs of "Manon" and "The Nutcracker," pictured, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Cheryl Mann/Joffrey Ballet

  • The Lyric Opera of Chicago has canceled all 2020 performances due to COVID-19, including the North American premiere of "Lessons in Love and Violence."

    The Lyric Opera of Chicago has canceled all 2020 performances due to COVID-19, including the North American premiere of "Lessons in Love and Violence." Courtesy of Stephen Cummiskey

  • The Joffrey Ballet has canceled its 2020 run of "Manon" due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    The Joffrey Ballet has canceled its 2020 run of "Manon" due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Cheryl Mann/Joffrey Ballet

 
 
Updated 6/16/2020 2:00 PM

The Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet have canceled performances through the end of 2020.

Both companies cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason in separate news releases on Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Like all arts organizations, the Joffrey is dealing with unprecedented and unpredictable conditions," said Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater in a statement. "Based on advice from health experts and local officials, it is not feasible to present the first half of our season in a manner that guarantees the safety of our audience, artists, production crew and staff members. It saddens all of us."

"As we move through our state's five-phase plan of reopening, performing arts companies on Lyric's scale are still slated to be part of the final phase," said Lyric general director Anthony Freud in a statement. "Operating on anything close to a normal basis until that phase is reached is simply not possible."

Canceled Lyric productions include the North American premiere of "Lessons in Love and Violence," plus returns of "Tosca," "Attila" and a double bill of "Cavalleria rusticana" and "Pagliacci." The Joffrey has canceled the company debut of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's "Manon" and its annual production of "The Nutcracker."

"The loss of 'The Nutcracker' alone -- more than half of the Joffrey's annual earned revenue -- compounds a financial crisis for the company that began this past spring with the cancellation of several important performances and programs," said Greg Cameron, the Joffrey's president and CEO. "We will now put our full attention and energy toward the Crisis Stabilization Fund to ensure the long-term health of the Joffrey."

The 2020-21 season marks the Joffrey's inaugural year at Lyric Opera House and 25 years since arriving in Chicago in 1995. The previously announced renovation project of new seats and improved sightlines for the Lyric's Ardis Krainik Theatre is proceeding under safety and health protocols.

Season ticketholders are to be contacted by both companies about options for future performance credits, donations or refunds. For more information, visit lyricopera.org or joffrey.org.

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