Fat Lady Sang, But There's An Encore

Other groups will reopen the curtain for shutout Connecticut Opera customers

Last month, the fat lady sang and hit a bad note for season ticket holders of the Connecticut Opera.

Thursday, other theaters decided the show must go on and opened their curtains to the theatergoers who would have been shut out of the season’s final two performances.

TheaterWorks stepped up to the footlights, followed by the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford Stage and Hartford Symphony.

On Jan. 29, the Opera announced that a drop in ticket sales and contributions forced it to cancel its final two productions.

Over the weekend, season subscribers expecting refunds received letters from members of the Connecticut Opera Board saying no refunds would be issued for unused tickets for either production of “The Daughter of the Regiment” or “La Boheme.” They were not too happy about it.

After 67 seasons, the Connecticut Opera has gone out of business. On Jan. 29, the theater announced that a drop in ticket sales and contributions forced it to close and cancel its final two productions.

The opera has closed its Hartford headquarters and laid off all staff.

Connecticut Opera Board Chairman John Kreitler said there is no money to refund ticket holders because it's been used to pay the Connecticut Opera's creditors, he said.

The group will not file for bankruptcy because that would cost too much, Kreitler said.

Kreitler is calling the shutdown a shame and "just another casualty of the economic conditions.

TheaterWorks, in downtown Hartford, will honor the unfilled subscriptions. Connecticut Opera subscribers who are holding onto unused tickets can choose of any two of 11 upcoming productions over the next 23 months, TheaterWorks officials said in a news release Thursday morning. 

The theater will announce details and any restrictions by March 15.

That information will be posted on TheaterWorks' Web site and will be e-mailed to Connecticut Opera subscribers.  Details on the Bushnell, Hartford Symphony and Hartford Stage exchange, click here.
Some opera fans might be able to get their money back if they purchased their tickets through other vendors. 

The Bushnell Theater said those who purchased single tickets for an opera through the Bushnell will be able to get a refund. 

"There was only about $9,000 in single tickets sold. Those tickets, since they were sold through us, we retain those funds and we've already refunded almost all of that money to ticket holders", said Bushnell President David Fay.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he is looking into Connecticut Opera's closure and will be demanding information from the group.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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