Quantcast

The Bachelorette’s Elly Miles parties with Amazing Race Australia winners Tim and Rod

The Bachelorette's Elly Miles parties with Amazing Race Australia winners Tim Sattler and Rod Jones - after confirming her split from Frazer Neate By Mary...
More

    ‘Staff backlash’ over Eton’s ‘aggressively woke’ cultural revolution

    'Staff backlash' over Eton headmaster 'Trendy Hendy's' 'aggressively woke' cultural revolution to overhaul 580-year-old public school - as 1,000 pupils sign petition to reinstate...

    Texts Nebraska woman sent to family of murdered Cari Farver

    Revealed: Messages Nebraska woman sent to family of the 37-year-old love rival she murdered and then posed as to cover up the crime –...

    Georgia secretary of state has ALREADY investigated ‘bombshell’ video Giuliani claims proves fraud

    Georgia's secretary of state has ALREADY investigated 'bombshell' video Rudy Giuliani claims proves fraud at counting center and says it shows nothing out of...

    Jewel warned ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh about drug use prior to his death

    Ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's close friend Jewel wrote him a letter three months before he died telling him he was in trouble and taking...

    The show goes on at Madrid´s opera house despite pandemic

    The show goes on at Madrid´s opera house despite pandemic

    By CIARÁN GILES

    November 21, 2020 GMT

    MADRID (AP) — No one performing onstage in Spain’s Teatro Real opera house is masked, and that alone looks odd these days amid a pandemic.

    And that’s even before the second act scene in Antonín Dvořák’s “Rusalka” — about a water nymph who falls in love with a mortal — in which cast members kiss and grope in a feigned, non-socially distanced orgy.

    While many of the world’s major venues are shut down, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Covent Garden in London and La Scala in Milan, watching a performance at the Teatro Real in Madrid can almost make you forget about the coronavirus.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Located in one of the cities hit hardest by the virus, the Teatro Real is making a herculean effort for the show to go on, investing in safety measures that have allowed it to stage performances — albeit with smaller audiences — since July.

    In March and April, soaring infections had Madrid’s hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients. That eased in the summer, but another wave saw cases surge in the city and surrounding region. Authorities now seem to have gained the upper hand, with hospital occupancy rates falling steadily. Overall, Spain’s Health Ministry has recorded more than 1.54 million cases and has attributed almost 42,300 deaths to the virus.

    “The theater and culture must bet on staying open at all times,” Teatro Real managing director Ignacio García-Belenguer told The Associated Press. “It’s not about going against the flow or trying to be exceptional. … It’s what we believe we have to do.”

    With a yearly budget of 60 million euros ($71 million), Spain’s prime cultural center acknowledges it has the capacity and ability to carry on.

    García-Belenguer says its financing from public subsidies, sponsors and ticketing puts Teatro Real in a unique spot to break even, unlike other opera houses that are normally mostly public or private. Extra state funding because of the pandemic will help too, he adds.

    But it also has the good fortune of being in a region that has decided to take a different tack with the virus and apply fewer and more-localized restrictions, allowing bars, restaurants and cultural venues to stay open with reduced attendance.

    It was closed during Spain’s three months of national confinement between March and May, but preparations for reopening went on. It rolled out an array of measures that allowed it to stage a work with an audience, Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata,” in July. Since then, it has put on two other operas, ballets and flamenco shows, and plans a full season for 2021.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Everyone entering the theater has their temperature taken automatically by machines. Hand sanitizers abound and surgical masks are supplied to all. There are ultra-violet lamps to disinfect the main theater, dressing rooms and clothing, and the air conditioning has been adapted to ensure a healthier air flow and temperature.

    García-Belenguer says they will spend 1 million euros ($1.2 million) on safety measures by year’s end.

    “I feel like I’m in a miracle, “says Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian, the star of “Rusalka,” which is a co-production with companies in Dresden, Bologna, Barcelona and Valencia. Those sites will not be able to stage the opera for some time.

    “We are always tested, (and) with masks, it’s really strict in the theater,” says Grigorian, who had her October 2021 debut in the Met canceled while shows in Berlin and elsewhere are uncertain.

    “I have no idea where I am going after Madrid,” she says. “If everything will be locked down then I’ll stay in Madrid.”

    She and “Rusalka” director Christof Loy believe Madrid is leading the way.

    “I think the governments are wrong in closing theaters,” Loy said. “People need music, they need arts.”

    García-Belenguer compares the situation to now universally accepted security measures adopted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The “new normality,” he says, demands “a deployment to minimize the health risk when someone comes to the theater, or boards a plane.”

    Key to staying open during the pandemic was Teatro Real’s decision to set up a medical committee with specialists from five Madrid hospitals giving advice, he said.

    Offstage, masks are compulsory for all. The cast, chorus and orchestra are tested every three days, with others monitored regularly. Stagehands and other workers must fill out health questionnaires every day.

    There have been isolated positive tests, but in each one, the theater says it reacted promptly and often tested up to 50 people who came in contact with the infected person.

    The average of 1,000-plus audience members — about 65% of normal capacity — are divided into 19 sectors with separate refreshment areas and toilets and a small army of ushers ensuring there is no roaming about.

    “It is a complex system to try to reduce to the maximum the impact,” García-Belenguer said.

    He knows any outbreak could prove embarrassing. Memories are still fresh of the furor at a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” in September, when a show was interrupted and eventually canceled after spectators in cheaper seats protested loudly that they were crammed together, while those in expensive ones appeared to have plenty of space.

    The opera house was in full compliance with regulations at the time, but since then, a one-seat separation between every two is the norm.

    —-

    Associated Press photographer Bernat Armangue contributed.

    —-

    Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Latest Posts

    Frank Lampard eyeing long-term Chelsea stay before admitting interest in England job in the future

    'I'm a lucky man to be managing the club that I love and is my life': Frank Lampard eyeing long-term Chelsea stay before admitting...

    Dave King admits difficult times at Rangers after claiming Mike Ashley ‘tried to put him in jail’

    Former Rangers chairman Dave King admits he faced difficult times in role after claiming Mike Ashley 'tried to put him in jail'... but now...

    Older women may be at greater risk of ‘long Covid’ because of lower oestrogen levels

    Older women may be at greater risk of 'long Covid' because of lower oestrogen levels brought on by menopause, study suggests Study suggests possible link...

    The Bachelorette’s Elly Miles parties after split with Frazer Neate

    The Bachelorette's Elly Miles throws back a few wines as she parties with reality stars just one day after tearfully confirming split from Frazer...