Amargosa Opera House struggles to survive, keep ballerina’s legacy alive

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While most of Las Vegas’ major resorts have reopened and the shows, along the Las Vegas Strip, have come back to life, it’s only a taste of normal in abnormal times.

In Death Valley Junction, California. It’s another story. One unique hotel and entertainment venue is just trying to hang on and it’s a reminder of what could happen.

“Imagine a place that’s in the middle of nowhere,” said Bobbi Fabian.

She is the general manager of the Amargosa Hotel & Opera House.

“We are in the middle of nowhere. So, it is hard for people to remember that we’re here and that we do need help.”

Marta Becket performed at the Amargosa Opera House. Her show drew people from around the world.

Marta Becket liked the isolation. Back in 1967, the ballerina and her husband stumbled onto Death Valley Junction and never left. The Armagosa Opera House were her personal canvas, her own stage where she performed for decades until death in 2017.

Amargosa Opera House (KLAS-TV file photo)

Fred Conboy helps keep her spirit alive but it’s getting harder to do.  

“We see the ruins of Death Valley Junction as not an option. This has sustained in the past, and will sustain in the future,” he said.

Coronavirus forced it all to close back in March. The hotel reopened a few weeks ago at half capacity, but will close again in December.

 “People want to see the stage being used and Marta’s legacy live on,” Fabian said.

Until that happens, the hotel and opera house has a GoFundMe page. Money raised helps keep the lights on, pay the few staff still there and make sure Marta’s creation doesn’t drift away.

“It’s something that needs constant work,” Fabian said. “It needs to be nourished and loved, just like Marta loved it.”

Becket found the poetry of living in remoteness. The next act is keeping her show alive on the desert’s most desolate stage.         

“There’s a conspiracy of all these wonderful things that come here, that will offer someone a chance to feel that this place will sustain, even if it were to fall to dust.”

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