After the pandemic forced Portland Opera to cancel its season—then reschedule, and then cancel again—the company has finally announced plans to return to live, in-person performances this year. That includes a backup plan, because, well, everyone knows better by now.

The 2021-22 schedule will begin Oct. 29 with the grand opening of Tosca at the Keller Auditorium, a show that was originally slated to be held last season. Four performances of the popular Puccini opera are scheduled through Nov. 6. But if COVID-19 reopening guidelines prevent the company from launching this fall, it will slide Tosca to mid-May, 2022.

Barring any further snags caused by the pandemic, Portland Opera will next present When the Sun Comes Out, a one-act chamber opera set in a fictitious dystopian country where gender expression is criminalized, beginning Jan. 28.

Finally, March should see the presentation of The Central Park Five, winner of a 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music based on the wrongful rape and assault convictions of five Black and Latino teenagers in 1989 New York.

If Portland Opera's anticipated productions appear to be more contemporary and diverse than past seasons, you're not wrong. The company spent the last year updating its mission statement and core values after collaborating with not only core staff and the board of directors, but also patrons, artists and musicians.

As more people get vaccinated and pandemic safety measures begin to loosen, Portland Opera says it will continue to offer and expand its alternative performances and activities that began in lockdown. That will include streaming shows, free digital broadcasts, balcony performances and other pop-up productions.

Patrons will also notice a revamped website, designed to support a new ticketing system based on customer feedback about online fees and barriers to access.