Monday, 18 May 2020 11:09

SPAC Cancels 2020 Ballet, Classical Season Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Dave Matthews, who rescheduled a pair of Saratoga Performing Arts Center shows this coming summer to 2021, gets expressive on stage at the venue last summer. Dave Matthews, who rescheduled a pair of Saratoga Performing Arts Center shows this coming summer to 2021, gets expressive on stage at the venue last summer. SuperSource Media

SARATOGA SPRINGS — For the first time in its 53-year history, Saratoga Performing Arts Center has cancelled its classical season.

The cancellations include: SPAC's summer resident companies New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as "Not Our First Goat Rodeo" featuring Yo-Yo Ma, and "SPAC on Stage."

SPAC along with its board of directors made the decision to suspend its programming this summer in recognition of the continued threat to health and safety caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“So much thought, care, heart and soul go into crafting and preparing for our summer season that we truly think of it as a love letter to our community. To find it necessary to cancel what would have been one of the most ambitious and artistically inspiring seasons to date is just gut-wrenching and inconceivable,” said Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s President and CEO, in a statement. “But the indisputable truth is that even with our park setting and our 5,200 seats, it would be simply impossible to find a way to keep the artists and the community safe.”

“SPAC has been New York City Ballet’s summer home since 1966 and this will be the first time in more than 50 years that the Company will not be performing in the capital region, which is devastating for all of us,” said NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown. “However, the health and safety of our artists, staff, and audiences is our number one priority at this time, and we support SPAC’s decision to cancel this summer’s performances.  All of us at New York City Ballet look forward to returning to SPAC next summer to perform for the wonderful and loyal fans who come to see us each summer in one of the country’s most beautiful performing arts venues.”

Due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, SPAC faces the loss of millions of dollars in ticket, rental and sponsorship income. As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, SPAC depends on ticket sales and the generosity of individuals and corporate underwriters for 80% of its annual budget, which includes an education program that reaches 50,000 students throughout the Capital Region every year.

"For the past 53 years, SPAC has been a beacon of hope, light and refuge for the community -- and the support of the community has been critical to its life and longevity. The loss of ticket income, event sponsorships and key sources of revenue is going to hit SPAC incredibly hard.  Continued community support through membership, ticket donations and philanthropic contributions will be critical to how SPAC emerges from the crisis,” added Sobol. 

"That said, while our traditional season is unable to continue for 2020, SPAC leadership is committed to continuing to provide the kind of inspiring and transformative experiences for which SPAC is known and loved. Our dedication to art, artists and community is undimmed.  If anything, we feel more galvanized than ever to serve as a sanctuary and cultural convener for our community during this time of uncertainty and darkness," said Sobol.

SPAC is holding dates for the return of New York City Ballet on July 13-17, 2021; The Philadelphia Orchestra on August 4-21, 2021; and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in August 2021, exact dates TBA.

For every ticketholder of the 2020 classical season who chooses to convert all or a minimum of $25 of their ticket purchase into a tax-deductible donation, SPAC will donate two 2021 tickets to first responders and local health care workers.

Visit SPAC.org for options to donate, receive a credit, or to request a refund for SPAC performances. Ticketholders will also be contacted directly via email with their ticketing options. 

Any changes to the rock, pop and country concert schedule will be made directly by Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which programs and manages those shows in addition to their related ticketing policies. Visit https://www.livenationentertainment.com/ticketrefund/.

At the moment, the first two pop concerts of the season –June 24: KIDZ BOP Live 2020 Tour, and June 30: Steely Dan with Special Guest Steve Winwood, are still on. The cancellation of annual two-day Saratoga Jazz Festival was previously announced. 

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