Bellevue Opera company’s costumes, props stolen weeks before first show since COVID

Oct 31, 2022, 8:25 AM | Updated: 8:41 am
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
(Photo from KIRO 7)
(Photo from KIRO 7)

Thieves nearly brought the curtain down on the Bellevue Opera company. They stole thousands of dollars in costumes.

The theft is a huge setback. The opera made the discovery just as they were about to mount a new production of “Oliver.”

Follow this link to read additional stories from KIRO 7

This has never happened to the Bellevue Opera company before, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. They are staging “Oliver” here in less than two weeks. And all of those costumes were stolen, too.

It may be a bitter irony. After all, the Bellevue Opera company is staging the classic Charles Dickens tale of a group of orphans trained as pickpockets.

“I went down about three weeks ago,” said company co-founder Pamela Castella, an acclaimed opera singer in her own right.

That is when life imitated art.

“We opened the door. Everything was gone,” she said. “Everything except one box.”

Thieves had broken into a Tacoma warehouse where their costumes were being stored.

“And I went, ‘Are you kidding me?’” she said.

They don’t know when the theft happened.

“No, we really don’t,” she said. “Because we trusted that everything was fine. And then it was time to go check.”

The outfits for “Oliver” were gone, along with about $25,000 worth of props and costumes “that were donated from San Francisco Opera.”

Some of what was stolen had been donated from Tokyo, Japan. “We had Madama Butterfly costumes, wigs, everything.”

All this happened in the middle of rehearsals for “Oliver.”

“I don’t know what they’re going to do with those (costumes),” said Castella. “Halloween is coming, so.”

She says the arts community has stepped in to help, like the Seattle Opera where she once sang, Taproot Theater and Choir of the Sound.

“The show must go on,” she said. “It’s going on. Yes, it is.”

Now Castella is hoping the audience will help as only it can.

“Basically, come to the show,” she implored.

“Oliver” will be at the Meydenbauer Center on Nov. 9 and 10.

Bellevue Opera doesn’t expect to get back what was stolen.

And they do have a GoFundMe account.

Follow this link to read additional stories from KIRO 7

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Bellevue Opera company’s costumes, props stolen weeks before first show since COVID