Paris Opera singers go digital after the pandemic keeps theatres closed

Reuters
Paris Updated: Dec 15, 2020, 06:59 PM(IST)

Musicians of the Paris Opera play during a protest Photograph:( AFP )

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France`s government announced in November that a lockdown imposed at the end of October to tackle a second coronavirus wave would be partially lifted by Dec. 15 and would include the re-opening of cultural venues.
 

Just five days before they were due to perform before a live audience for the first time in almost two months, the singers of the Paris Opera learned they could not re-open before January as France`s coronavirus cases remained stubbornly high.

So they decided to film their performance of works by a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and 18th-century French composers Chevalier de Saint-Georges and Andre Gretry and offer it on a new video-on-demand portal launched last week by the Opera de Paris, which runs the Garnier and the Bastille opera venues.

"Of course it is sad, but we`re very lucky to be able to film this concert, especially because some pieces of music that will be played have never been recorded", said French soprano Pauline Texier.

France`s government announced in November that a lockdown imposed at the end of October to tackle a second coronavirus wave would be partially lifted by Dec. 15 and would include the re-opening of cultural venues.

But last Thursday Prime Minister Jean Castex said museums, cinemas and theatres would not re-open before at least the beginning of January as the target of keeping daily new infections below 5,000 had not been met.

"For me, it`s really a shame that we currently cannot perform. Because we, as artists, are incomplete without the public", Fernando Escalona, a countertenor from Venezuela, told Reuters during the rehearsal.

People from the arts and entertainment world protested in Paris on Tuesday against the government`s decision.

Castex said extra financial aid would be granted to artists and there would be a Jan. 7 meeting to see if some reopening was possible.

Not being able to perform in front of an audience has "become the new normal", American bass Aaron Pendleton said.

"But we`re still able to share our work and we`re still able to work so we`ve been lucky to have that", he added.



(Reporting by Lucien Libert; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)
 

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