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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affects the Ballet World


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15 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

According to a New York Times article, the Mark Morris Dance Group and the (Benjamin Millepied's) L.A. Dance Project have both stated that they are not planning any performances for the remainder of 2020.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/arts/reopening-dance-music-theater-virus.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR3VbQ21r_NKmpOZw6ZwSYADd2FA

Very gloomy. In New Zealand, which seems to be leading the planet in getting a grip on COVID-19, the Ballet is hoping to perform in their country starting August 20.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/new-zealand/article/Royal-New-Zealand-Ballet-Company-Rehearses-on-Zoom-Hopes-to-Return-to-Performing-Soon-20200524

It makes you wonder why Segerstrom hasn't cancelled anything past May 31! For those of us with tickets to LaScala in late July, it would be nice if they'd get on with what seems to be inevitable. Instead, they are still selling tickets!  https://www.scfta.org/

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, California said:

It makes you wonder why Segerstrom hasn't cancelled anything past May 31!

I tried buying tickets for a few shows in June and was not able to, so apparently June shows are cancelled even if there isn't a banner on their website. For shows involving the Pacific Symphony, the ticket page does state that the Pacific Symphony has cancelled all their June shows.

Edited by YouOverThere
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The Toronto-based chamber orchestra Tafelmusik is creating a pay per view online concert series, with the first performance this evening (5/27). The wave of the future?

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Whim W'him a contemporary dance company in Seattle, founded and led by former PNB Principal Dancer, has announced a digital season for 2020-2011.  Quinn Wharton will be filming the new works for the season.  

Their model is a hybrid subscription model -- $120/year or $12/mo -- for the three performances plus extras or $5-$50 for each filmed performance.  I am so excited about this, and I look forward to see the choices that the choreographers, dancers, and Wharton make.

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Opera Colorado just announced that its performances scheduled for November 2020 will be performed in late June 2021. The rest of the season will open in February 2021. They perform in the same Opera House used by the Colorado Ballet. I'm hoping they can reschedule their October Giselle to late spring, but nothing has been announced.

 

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Not ballet, but I got a "return" survey from the National Nordic Museum on the conditions under which i would return.   Eight or so basic questions -- When am I planning to return, select from a list of things they could do to make me feel safe, have I watched any of their digital content, etc. -- and age(s) of people in my household (how many by range).

And I gave them the same response I gave to the ballet:  video until vaccine, and that my feeling safe was not under their control.

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No surprise, but Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts just cancelled the La Scala performances July 31-August 2.

Performances of Teatro alla Scala Ballet's Onegin
 Have Been Canceled!

Dear Ticket Holder,

Segerstrom Center for the Arts considers the health and wellbeing of our patrons, artists and staff to be our top priority. Amid ongoing orders from the State and County health agencies relating to the COVID-19 virus, Segerstrom Center’s presentation of Teatro alla Scala Ballet's Onegin, originally scheduled for July 31st - August 2nd, 2020, has been cancelled.

If you have tickets to this show, please visit our website to see your ticket options by next Wednesday, June 3rd to let us know what you would like to do with your tickets. After this date, if we have not heard from you, your purchase will be converted to an account credit that you can use for any future purchase.

Please note that credits and refunds are only available for tickets purchased directly through the presenter. Segerstrom Center is not responsible for the refund practices put in place by secondary ticket providers.

Our box office and administration offices are closed until further notice. For any other questions, please email the box office at BoxOffice@SCFTA.org.

Thank you,

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

 

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8 hours ago, abatt said:

Met Opera has cancelled all shows in the fall.  The plan is to reopen on Dec 31 with a gala.

And since the artists haven't been paid since March, things could get dicey fast.

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In the new schedule Met is also dropping some new productions for the time being, but performing the operas in the current productions, postponing some other new productions, performing during a previously scheduled dark period -- Boheme, Traviata, Carmen -- and Brenda Rae gets to sing Rosina instead of Lulu.

https://www.metopera.org/user-information/2020-21-season-update/

The Met can't keep people onhold indefinitely, and Europe is already opening up sports-wise and travel-wise, even if in a limited way. 

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On 6/1/2020 at 6:07 PM, abatt said:

Met Opera has cancelled all shows in the fall.  The plan is to reopen on Dec 31 with a gala.

I wonder what they are expecting will happen in December that will allow them to open.

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My guesses are:

1. A summer of people going outside and getting a lot out of their system, hopefully in a healthy way.

2. Gradual reopening plans work without the expected second spike in the Fall.  (Pipe dream, in my opinion, but it's built into the entire idea of re-opening plans.)

3. Definitive science that says that if you've been exposed/ill, test positive for antibodies, and are past a period in which you won't expose others to the virus, you can start going out freely in public.  (The South Korean team that originally said that people were testing positive after getting the virus clarified that they were finding dead, not live virus in post-illness testing.) This would assume some kind of proof of the above to get into venues.

While the third wouldn't necessarily mean that the audience could be back in force, it might mean that singers can perform, and their performances can be streamed.  I don't know how successful the Vienna State Opera model has been financially and whether it's been subsidized/relies on sponsorship, but their model is to stream many live performances a year over the internet. with a short period for subscribers to get it in their preferred time zone, and then they go into the vault, where subscribers get a small number of on demand performances from the vault/month, and beyond that, "rentals" for a smaller fee.  There's also an on-demand, per stream fee.

I would do that for the Met, even it if it was less frequent, and even if the cinema streams weren't available at home, so that the loyal movie theaters aren't cut out of the deal entirely.  The Met on Demand model isn't appealing to me, although it is to lots of people.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Helene said:

3. Definitive science that says that if you've been exposed/ill, test positive for antibodies, and are past a period in which you won't expose others to the virus, you can start going out freely in public.  (The South Korean team that originally said that people were testing positive after getting the virus clarified that they were finding dead, not live virus in post-illness testing.) This would assume some kind of proof of the above to get into venues.

If they start allowing people who test positive for antibodies to do things that the rest can't, there's a huge risk of a lot of coronavirus parties (as well as a large market in fraudulent certifications) since people lacking (proof of) antibodies will perceive themselves to be at a social and/or economic disadvantage. That could be disastrous.

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Social and economic discrepancies and disadvantages are already built into the plans: who can go out, which jobs can be done, how businesses can operate, including table service vs. pick-up and delivery.   And so will the phasing of a vaccine, once it's manufactured.

There are already antibodies tests that are available in some markets.  If people are already in violation by meeting in bars in close contact and pools in close contact and there are no civil or criminal repercussions for this behavior, even if the science bears out that only someone with the right results can't get the virus but could still be a carrier, the history of the Spanish Flu shows that people will behave in ways that are deadly to themselves and others around them, and I don't know why this will be any different. 

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Posted (edited)

A December 31 gala reopening seems highly improbable to me. I don't think opera will be back onstage in any normal way (e.g. choruses rehearsing and performing together, soloists within ~15 feet of one another, etc.) until there is a vaccine and/or significant developments in treatment — to the point where, for a large proportion of the population, COVID-19 is as treatable as the flu. 

32 minutes ago, Helene said:

My guesses are:

1. A summer of people going outside and getting a lot out of their system, hopefully in a healthy way.

2. Gradual reopening plans work without the expected second spike in the Fall.  (Pipe dream, in my opinion, but it's built into the entire idea of re-opening plans.)

3. Definitive science that says that if you've been exposed/ill, test positive for antibodies, and are past a period in which you won't expose others to the virus, you can start going out freely in public.  (The South Korean team that originally said that people were testing positive after getting the virus clarified that they were finding dead, not live virus in post-illness testing.) This would assume some kind of proof of the above to get into venues.

While the third wouldn't necessarily mean that the audience could be back in force, it might mean that singers can perform, and their performances can be streamed...

I'm not sure I understand #1. How does a summer of getting outside make opera in the theater more feasible?

Reopening plans, no matter how gradual, are going to hit a point beyond which things just can't progress until there are significant developments in widespread rapid testing, contact tracing, and especially treatment — and, ultimately, a vaccine. I don't think things will ever be fully normal until we have the last of those, or at least a very good form of the second-to-last.

#3 would seem to mean that only singers/choristers who have had COVID-19 could continue with their professional careers — which, as @YouOverThere suggests, is highly problematic. It's also a big if that people who've had it would both (a) not be able to be reinfected (reasonably likely) and (b) not be able to carry and infect others (not quite as likely, as I understand it). And trying to put together a schedule of performances — which they'd need to start planning for now, or at least by this fall — seems like a logistical mess, if only performers who've had the virus (and come out of it in good shape) could be slotted in.

Edited by nanushka
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14 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I'm not sure I understand #1. How does a summer of getting outside make opera in the theater more feasible?

Many people are stir-crazy, and there's a possibility that a summer of relative movement and freedom will result into more voluntary withdrawal when the weather breaks.  Or there could be an earlier spike, in which case, based on Cuomo's recent actions, the re-opening plans will be back-tracked, and restrictions will be re-instated.  Met can make a decision earlier than waiting for the results of a second spike, when rehearsals would already have begun.  

 

14 minutes ago, nanushka said:

#3 would seem to mean that only singers/choristers who have had COVID-19 could continue with their professional careers — which, as @YouOverThere suggests, is highly problematic.

Having anti-bodies are not limited to people who have been identifiably symptomatic: many who have them never knew they were exposed.  But, yes, the selection process will be limited and selected for on-site work, and I don't expect this will be any different for many professions where working from home isn't possible, as opposed to being again company policy.

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5 minutes ago, Helene said:

Having anti-bodies are not limited to people who have been identifiably symptomatic: many who have them never knew they were exposed.

Right, definitely. I shouldn't have written "who have had COVID-19" since that's the illness; I should've written "who have had the virus."

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There is something referred to as the group mind, which often yields 'groupthink' in a particular society: "the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome" (definition coming from Wikipedia). American society is fast reaching some of the following conclusions:

  • Covid-19 is mainly a problem for 'special cases' such as the chronically ill and elderly.
  • Diseases tend to be harder on those special cases, and we're used to that.
  • This society doesn't really function well without everyone working, making money, exchanging currency, investing, asking for credit and paying back the loans and all that good Capitalist stuff.

And those conclusions are fast leading to the decision that:
Life must get back to the way it was - with some adjustments to keep from spreading the virus about so much, but it's a "free" country (whatever that is) so if some people are going to insist on not observing CDC and local healthcare guidelines, then there's not much that can be done about it besides possible litigation on an individual basis.

On the positive side, that could mean that performance arts organizations do get back up and running in a relatively normal fashion, sooner rather than later. But attending any large group gathering brings with it real risk of contracting or spreading the virus. It's going to be dicey for the older audience members for some time, and that's going to have a big effect on the ballet, opera and symphony worlds.

Enjoy your summer!

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1 hour ago, pherank said:

It's going to be dicey for the older audience members for some time, and that's going to have a big effect on the ballet, opera and symphony worlds.

For all three of those, though, I think the greater challenge won't be the audience (who, as @Helene pointed out above, can potentially see and hear performances remotely) but the performers. Singers, dancers and wind players all expel a lot of air, and generally rehearse and perform in close contact with one another. All three groups will likely be very hesitant to put themselves in much danger of contracting a respiratory illness — which for professional opera singers, especially, could quite possibly be career ending (not to mention life threatening). Many of the latter have likely been extremely careful over the past few months (to the extent their personal circumstances allow), and so getting a sufficient number of them who are immune and can put on a series of performances at the Met seems like a tricky task.

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11 minutes ago, nanushka said:

For all three of those, though, I think the greater challenge won't be the audience (who, as @Helene pointed out above, can potentially see and hear performances remotely) but the performers. Singers, dancers and wind players all expel a lot of air, and generally rehearse and perform in close contact with one another. All three groups will likely be very hesitant to put themselves in much danger of contracting a respiratory illness — which for professional opera singers, especially, could quite possibly be career ending (not to mention life threatening). Many of the latter have likely been extremely careful over the past few months (to the extent their personal circumstances allow), and so getting a sufficient number of them who are immune and can put on a series of performances at the Met seems like a tricky task.

The actions of the performing artists have been mostly exemplary. But I think society is going to decide for them to "get on with it". Do what you can, but if the mask is in the way, don't use it at those times. Dancers and singers can't perform with masks on (especially the kind that are worth a darn). We may go through a period where we see only the young performers who are willing to take the risk appearing on stage. And hopefully, the absence of older performers with more health issues/risks won't be held against that group.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, pherank said:

The actions of the performing artists have been mostly exemplary. But I think society is going to decide for them to "get on with it".

I'm curious how exactly the pressure arising from that decision might play out — in the cases of arts audiences in particular.

I'm also not so sure public opinion is actually as far ahead as some politicians and protesting citizens on the push for life to "get back to the way it was." Certainly there's beginning to be more of a push; but there are a lot of potential stages between where we are now and "the way it was."

Edited by nanushka
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Posted (edited)

Was tonight's Lincoln Center Dance Week program pulled (Tribute to Balanchine)? I just looked at the website and I don't see the program listed anymore.

 

Edited by FPF
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3 minutes ago, FPF said:

Was tonight's Lincoln Center Dance Week program pulled (Tribute to Balanchine)? I just looked at the website and I don't see the program listed anymore.

 

Same question! I'm not finding it.

 

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