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The Metropolitan Opera Reschedules Opening Until September 2021

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Jordan Catalano
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carnzee
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I figured it was only a matter of time. I wonder if there is any precedent for this. I wonder what effect the 1918 pandemic had on the Met.
Kimbo
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carnzee said: "I figured it was only a matter of time. I wonder if there is any precedent for this. I wonder what effect the 1918 pandemic had on the Met."

Considering Broadway stayed open a century ago (still unbelievable to me), I'd imagine other arts (opera, dance, etc.) followed suit. 

"With an influenza pandemic and a war on, New York's health commissioner took an unorthodox stand, declining to shutter public entertainment. War plays were big on Broadway in the fall of 1918."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/theater/spanish-flu-1918-new-york-theater.html

 

This Met news is not a surprise, but is still disheartening. I should think Scott Rudin must be reconsidering the wisdom of putting up that Music Man billboard less than a week ago.  Even more depressing, though I haven't seen specifics reported as it pertains to entertainment industry, I imagine that Boris Johnson's new stringent rollbacks, restrictions and penalties that he announced yesterday to try and curb the virus again in the U.K., and which he said could last for 6 months, will effectively scotch any semblance of a 2020-21 theater season in the West End.  Also not a surprise, but something I know they'd been hoping for and counting on over there.  (The article only a week or two ago announcing that 6 productions had put tickets onsale had the producers admitting they were taking a bit of a gamble as they'd been unable to get cancellation insurance.)

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MayAudraBlessYou2
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Expect more and more of these announcements in the coming days. The only places that will be able to show any type of live theater before next fall are non-profits who find angel donors. Because the only way to open will be with severely reduced capacity and the donors will make up for the lost ticket revenue with their contributions. Everyone is going after these donors right now, but even if they secured support, the new rules coming from equity on rehearsal and performance requirements are not making things very feasible (and if your production features singing...forget about it. Instead of a 100 person audience you'd only be allowed an audience of 5). The rules are necessary for safety, but most companies are just going to wait it out rather than deal with them. So we are waiting for a vaccine to be widely distributed...aka waiting a year from now.

JennH
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carnzee said: "I figured it was only a matter of time. I wonder if there is any precedent for this. I wonder what effect the 1918 pandemic had on the Met."

Considering that the world wasn't even CLOSE to being as interconnected as we are now and people couldn't travel nearly as far or as often as we can now, that's the only reason I can think of that any arts institutions stayed open back then. Broadway wasn't exactly "Broadway" as we know it today, it was still a world of vaudeville, minstrel shows, etc. and the Met was much smaller then as well. Could very possibly have been more feasible to stay open with restrictions. 

Regardless of a century ago, I'm seriously just over anti-maskers...they are one of many things that are keeping this mess slogging along like a sputtering car engine that won't start. 

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When employees are furloughed how long does it last? Is there a certain point when an organization is not bound to keep the former employees? Or is that something that happens right off the bat.

I also wonder if the theaters will rethink staffing....any thoughts...

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MayAudraBlessYou2
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The company sets the furlough for each individual employee. I have co workers who were furloughed for 2 months, others nine months. A furlough period can be as long as one year. 

 

In my org, a couple positions have already be "re-thought" meaning they have different duties, or positions were combined. I think a larger scale staffing change would depend on what it looks like when theatre comes back into operation. If demand is slow to build, companies will obviously try to cut corners where they can to save money. If they are reopening with full season offerings and don't have problems selling those offerings, then I expect staffing will remain mostly the same. We just have to wait and see. 

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Not surprised by this news, but I still think the new projected reopening dates are a pipe dream.

On the other hand, I am very eager to see how "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" will be received. It will be the Met's first presentation of a work by a POC composer.

(heads down to the orchestra pit during the Exit Music)
Updated On: 9/23/20 at 02:23 PM
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Their subscribers are older people, so this makes sense. Still sucks though. 

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Jordan Catalano
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I also wonder if the sheer size of the casts plus the amount of people backstage PLUS the huge number of seats (and older patrons) factored into this decision and might not have the same impact on a normal broadway show or even new scaled down productions.
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All good points, I think all of those things were pretty big factors.

Kimbo
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Jordan Catalano said: "I also wonder if the sheer size of the casts plus the amount of people backstage PLUS the huge number of seats (and older patrons) factored into this decision and might not have the same impact on a normal broadway show or even new scaled down productions."

Those are factors (and a reason why I believe the first theater we might see will be socially-distanced one-person shows), but at a time when the UK is rolling back opening and there's still no dates in NY for even comedy clubs, not the deciding ones.  Re-posting what somebody wrote on the other board that I thought was full of good points (though sad ones);  live indoor theater of any significant kind is still a long way off.

"It makes sense that they're the first. They were also the first (or one of) to cancel the fall. They're heavily reliant on artists and audiences coming from out of town, and they'd have needed to be in the house preparing fairly soon to be able to open 12/31.   I'd expect venues like Carnegie Hall and City Center to go next, as they're also heavy presenters of out-of-town artists. Maybe the Philharmonic could hold on a little longer, since they could manage an all-local half season. But they'll also likely find they can't begin rehearsing in time for a January start, won't be able to open the hall then and can't count on an audience coming if they could.   Broadway might let those March/April dreams linger until after New Year's, but January and February will probably go down soon."

 

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Tag
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Jordan Catalano said: "I also wonder if the sheer size of the casts plus the amount of people backstage PLUS the huge number of seats (and older patrons) factored into this decision and might not have the same impact on a normal broadway show or even new scaled down productions."

Of course the huge amount of people involved makes everything more difficult than a small-scale show, but Covid doesn't discriminate whether there are 100 in the cast, or 10.  All it takes is one person with it, to sink the ship.  As we've just seen at the Bolshoi with Don Carlo.

A huge logistical issue for the MET is international performers and travel.

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Tag said: "Of course the huge amount of people involved makes everything more difficult than a small-scaleshow, but Covid doesn't discriminate whether there are 100 in the cast, or 10. All it takes is one person withit, to sink the ship. As we've just seen at the Bolshoi with Don Carlo.

A huge logistical issue for the MET is international performers and travel.
"

There are ways of handle casts and crews, even large ones, much as sports have done. The insoluble problem is the audience and in that regard size DOES matter. 250 sick people a week (even at an infection rate of 1) is not manageable from an epidemiological standpoint. 

You are right about the international aspect, which is a particular issue at the Met, but honestly we don't even get there in concluding that there can be no sane rationale for large assemblies for the next year. 

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Sutton Ross said: "Their subscribers are older people, so this makes sense. Stillsucks though."

So is the BWAY theatergoer...I believe BWAY will end up and wait till the Fall to reopen as well...we shall see???

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Jordan Catalano said: "I also wonder if the sheer size of the casts plus the amount of people backstage PLUS the huge number of seats (and older patrons) factored into this decision and might not have the same impact on a normal broadway show or even new scaled down productions."

Considering that the Met has crew in the building almost 24/7 during their main season, I think that's a huge part of it. To handle their show turnover they've got a huge night crew in almost every night to load in and out sets, plus the day crew that finishes restoring each set and runs the show, and most of those sets have to be trucked in from storage, so that's even more people.

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So is the BWAY theatergoer...I believe BWAY will end up and wait till the Fall to reopen as well...we shall see???"

We shall see Robbie, absolutely. But, it's looking more and more likely. A year. Damn. 

 

VintageSnarker
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The Met has led on setting more distant dates for reopening. I'll be curious if anyone else follows suit.

But also... WHAT? The FIRST??? What is the count for non-white composers in general?

"The Met plans to return to its stage next September with Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” the first time it will mount an opera by a Black composer"

Speaking of representation, I'm not sure why the NYT omits Sarah Ruhl from the mention of Eurydice. To me, that definitely gives it an advantage over the new Hamlet which feels like another new offering I don't need to suffer through.
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Besides the age of the audience and the size of the theatre, it's also worth noting that opera productions are typically reliant on a vast amount of international talent. Often many singers from around the world converge all at once not only for each opera, but with several different casts at once for the various operas that are all going on at one time. It's like if five different Broadway musicals all played at one theatre.