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New Zealand Arts Organizations Struggle to Obtain Visas For Performers

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These organizations include the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet.

New Zealand Arts Organizations Struggle to Obtain Visas For Performers

New Zealand's top arts organizations are unable to secure visas for their dancers and players from overseas, RNZ reports.

These organizations include the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Four players with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) are currently in the UK and Australia. They had just been recruited just before the border closed.

NZSO's chief executive Peter Biggs said an application to bring them in as essential workers was denied.

"We're very keen to get them in, they've all been declined so far but these are our employees, we're paying them," he said. "We're very worried that we'll have serious gaps in our orchestra component and so won't be able to deliver the repertoire that we promised our fans we would."

In addition, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, applied to bring in five specialist musicians, but only music director Giordano Bellincampi was approved for a short term visit. However, the concerts he was set to direct in August were cancelled due to the health crisis.

"From many points of view it was by no means a wasted visit. It was just very, very sad that we didn't have any concerts at the end of it because we were just really looking forward to it," said Chief Executive Barbara Glaser.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is also struggling due to the border restrictions, as they currently do not have enough dancers for its October production of The Sleeping Beauty.

The government says it is aware of the difficulties faced by the performing arts.

"We identified very early on that this was a sector that would be hit hard by our Covid response and the protections we're putting in place because mass gatherings are just so difficult," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Read more on RNZ.


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