According to Cleveland Opera, the L'elisir set and many other sets stored in New Orleans Opera's warehouse were not damaged when the building was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. Nevertheless, a spokesperson said in a statement, "retrieving and shipping the set [would] be enormously difficult."
"We are all dedicated to making certain that this wonderful company doesn't suffer anymore financially because of the storm," said Cleveland Opera general director Robert Chumbley. "We will pay our contract set fee and save New Orleans Opera time, money, and great inconvenience by not demanding delivery of the set."
Instead, director Joshua Major and lighting designer Jeff Davis will create a "non-traditional" set for the production using "platforms, stairs, ladders, and other materials currently owned by Cleveland Opera."
Patrons will see and believe everything through great singing, clear relationships, and enthralling storytelling," Major said. "What a different and breathtaking opportunity."
Cleveland Opera's production of L'elisir d'amore opens on December 2.