Faced with the increase in contaminations, concern is spreading to theaters

Red curtain closed, and spotlights off, the auditorium of the Opéra Bastille, in Paris, was sadly empty, Tuesday, December 14. Ballet Don Quixote which was to be held that day was canceled due to the deterioration of the health situation. While the Covid-19 epidemic has picked up again in recent weeks, with soon 100,000 infections a day, other Parisian theaters and performance halls have reluctantly postponed some of their performances, several artists being positive for the virus.

The professionals of the spectacle do not hide that they are in the blur and won by the anxiety, these last days of December. It is indeed impossible for them to know if their activity will continue normally after the holidays. « The identification of positive cases and contact cases among the artists, often on the very day of the performance, forces us to take measures to ensure the performances, sometimes a few hours before the curtain rises », explains the communication service of the management of the Opéra national de Paris, which manages the Bastille room.

Read the survey: Article reserved for our subscribers The difficult return to a normal cultural life

The establishment has had to make several changes to the distribution, or the presentation of a ballet to music recorded by the Orchester de Paris instead of the orchestra in the pit.. But, sometimes these changes are not enough. The Opéra Bastille has decided to postpone the performance of Bluebeard Castle by the Barcelona Liceu Grand Theater Symphony Orchestra, scheduled for January 9, to avoid any risk of the virus spreading.

« We really live from day to day »

« In the current health context, ensuring the maintenance of performances while preserving the safety of our public is a daily challenge », we explain. A difficult challenge, especially for large productions, which welcome thousands of spectators at each performance and employ hundreds of artists and technicians. At the Théâtre Mogador, in Paris, the snub is tough for the musical comedy troupe The Lion King, which has been sold out since November.

The Lion did not roar on stage on December 18 and 19, the theater having had to cancel two performances due to the detection of a case of Covid-19 among the artists. The announcement came as a shock as, since its first performances, this Broadway musical has been a real success, with more than 200,000 tickets sold. However, the theater strictly applies health measures by testing actors, musicians and technicians every day.

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