The Metropolitan Opera announced a shortened concert season due to fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, the Met revealed that it would push back its season by three and a half months – the latest start in the company’s 137-year history and shortest season in four decades. The $60 million in emergency gifts was able to balance out the company’s 2019-20 season budget.
The Met general manager Peter Gelb told the Associated Press that “social distancing and the grand opera do not work.”
“It is impossible to follow these social distancing guidelines that are in effect and presumably will be in effect certainly through the summer and into the early fall to have an orchestra situated in the pit, to have a chorus and dancers and singers in close contact with each other on the stage, to have costume, wardrobe, makeup people working intensely,” Gelb said.
In addition to the pushback, four new stagings will take place in later seasons, including Michael Mayer’s production of Verdi’s “Aida,” the Barrie Kosky’s version of Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel,” Simon McBurney’s vision of Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote” and Ivo Van Hove’s rendering of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”
Gelb went on to note that various health authorities believe there will be a medical solution by December 31. If there isn’t a solution by the end of the year, Gelb said they would not reopen, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t open next season. He said future seasons would definitely include some changes, including a shorter number of performances.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Met paused its season on March 12, cancelling 58 of the 217 originally scheduled performances. The cancellations caused a projected $308 million loss to their budget.