The cancellations come “in accordance with statewide guidelines that live concert performances will not be permitted until the final stage of the reopening process,” said San Francisco Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson in a statement. “The City of San Francisco and the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center have indicated that all performances in Davies Symphony Hall must be canceled through the end of the calendar year.”
The empty stages across from City Hall come at a pivotal time for the Symphony, with the departure of Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the on boarding of new director Esa-Pekka Salonen. Due to lost revenue, the Symphony also announced “temporary pay reductions for all employees earning more than $75,000 annually, and a staff restructuring that includes the elimination of some positions and some temporary furloughs of varied duration.”
The fall season for SF Opera, also canceled, had been scheduled to include performances of Fidelio, Così fan tutte, The Handmaid’s Tale, Rigoletto and La Bohème. The popular Opera in the Park event in October is also canceled. In a statement, General Director Matthew Shilvock called the decision "heartbreaking," adding that the company looks eagerly to a Spring 2021 season. “The creative urge to share our art with audiences has never been stronger,” Shilvock said. “We will keep the music alive.”
Both organizations have online events planned in place of live concerts, including a farewell series for Michael Tilson Thomas.