Opera Scotland

Covid-19: The 2020 coronavirus pandemic

Posted 5 Apr 2020

It was made clear on Monday, 16 March that all meeting places of any significance throughout Scotland - from pubs, restaurants and sports stadia to concert halls, theatres and opera houses - would forthwith be closed, and for a significant duration. 

Amid this chaos fell the handful of performances of the new staging by Scottish Opera of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Not only was the Dream cancelled, but also the subsequent productions of The Gondoliers and Utopia Limited.   The concert performances of Cavalleria rusticana and Zingari are also likely to bite the dust.   Scottish Opera's Young Company have lost two productions of works by Sondheim, which were to have received Scottish premieres - The Frogs and Merrily We Roll Along

Other events that fell victim included performances of Verdi's Messa da Requiem by both the RSNO and Dundee Choral Union, and the BBC SSO's performance of the Brahms German Requiem.   The catalogue of gloom also includes the Aberdeen University staging of a Puccini double bill and the Perth Festival, usually held towards the end of May. Although no programme had yet been confirmed, the 2020 Edinburgh International Festival has also been cancelled, for the first time in its history.

It can only be hoped that these will all be revived when social isolation comes to an end, with luck sooner rather than later. However the EIF has already announced that management has switched its attention entirely to the 2021 Festival, while at the same time discussing the inevitable huge loss this year with its funders.

In the meantime we must all try to support as much as possible not just friends, neighbours and the vulnerable, but social and business structures throughout the country. It is unclear in the longer term what failures and difficulties might lie ahead. All performing arts organisations have issued appeals for support.

Fortunately - and this is the only shaft of light for those of us with ready internet access - arts companies are streaming an impressive range of live performances not just to entertain us but to sustain morale and mental health.

Meanwhile, we can only send our best wishes to all the performers whose livelihoods have been so severely affected by this dreadful pandemic. 

Next, we note with sadness that Terrence McNally, the American librettist of the Conservatoire's recent great success Dead Man Walking, has died of complications from this virus, at the age of 81.

And finally, please keep yourselves as safe as possible...


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