energetic than most British venues in presenting live performances, will again be one of the first to restart live indoor concerts (from May 21), but there will be no full Aldeburgh Festival in 2021.
This month also sees Opera Australia return to Melbourne for the first time since 2019. The company has announced that it will stage Aida and Ernani at the State Theatre in May. OA’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini told the Sydney Morning Herald of his ‘absolute relief’ at being able to have a Melbourne season despite the financial blow the pandemic has dealt the company. ‘There’s a palpable sense of joy in the company. The board signed off on it […] news spread like wildfire and people walked into the corridor and applauded.’
In Italy, several houses have echoed the call of La Scala’s Sovrintendente, Dominique Meyer, for artists to be given priority in the country’s vaccination programme, so that theatres can reopen safely and with increased peace of mind. Met manoeuvres After months of stasis, the Metropolitan Opera began to move forward again in March when the union representing its orchestra accepted a deal that will provide its players with regular pay cheques (of up to $1,543 a week) in exchange for returning to the bargaining table. Last year, the Met’s offer of partial pay to furloughed workers in exchange for long-term cuts had been roundly rejected, but as a compromise the offer of weekly payments on a temporary basis in return for starting talks was accepted—first by the union representing the chorus, though the orchestra held out against this for longer. The Met’s stagehands remain locked out after their dispute with management, and the company’s prospects of reopening in the autumn still depend on the outcome of labour negotiations and the path of the pandemic. Although the Met’s General
Manager, Peter Gelb, wrote to employees about a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, he said that ‘Even before the pandemic, the economics of the Met were extremely challenging and in need of a reset. With the pandemic, we have had to fight for our economic survival.’
The Met’s Music Director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who had remained quiet on these matters and maintained low visibility throughout the pandemic, finally joined the debate, writing a letter—sent to the management, leaders of the negotiating committees and members of the board— that urged the Met to compensate its artists ‘appropriately’ and said that the situation of the unpaid orchestra and chorus had become ‘increasingly unacceptable’. According to the New York Times, NézetSéguin warned that ‘We risk losing talent permanently […] The orchestra and chorus are our crown jewels, and they must be protected. Their talent is the Met. The artists of the Met are the institution.’ Goerke joins Motown Announcing its 2021-2 programme, the first full season under its new Artistic Director Yuval Sharon, Michigan Opera Theatre named the soprano Christine Goerke in the new position of Associate Artistic Director. She noted that the post will not mean a reduction in her Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde in ‘Twilight: Gods’, Yuval Sharon’s inaugural Detroit production last October
Opera, May 2021