Amargosa Opera House season opens without beloved founder

The Amargosa Opera House and Hotel sits outside of Death Valley National Park, like some desert dream forgotten by time.

The founder of this magical place, Marta Becket, passed away this year at age 92, but those whom she inspired are keeping her spirit alive.

About 100 people gathered at the opera house on a recent October in the small town of Death Valley Junction, California, to remember Becket and take in the beginning of the first season of performances without her.

A front-row chair draped in pink and decorated with flowers was a memorial to her. The crowd was ready to be enchanted once again.

Hilda Vazquez conjured up Becket’s magic on stage once the program began, with original performances, using the same costumes and set pieces that Becket had made by hand and used for decades.

For a moment, it was as if Marta Becket had never left.

For more on the opera house’s new season, see the Oct. 13 issue of the Pahrump Valley Times and There, readers will find a special feature by writer Robin Flinchum. She details how for the first time since its inauguration nearly 50 years ago, the Opera House is welcoming a new audience to its famous stage without the presence and guiding influence of Becket, who passed away last January at age 92.

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