Met cancels rest of 2020-21 season

New York’s Metropolitan Opera, responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, has canceled the rest of its 2020-21 season, and will seek concessions from the unions representing its musicians and other staff, The New York Times’ Michael Cooper reports.

While canceling the current season, Cooper writes, Met General Manager Peter Gelb “announced an ambitious lineup for 2021-22 to reassure donors and ticket buyers that the Met has robust plans,” beginning with a September 2021 production of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” the first opera by an African-American composer to be staged by the company – “part of a new focus on contemporary works alongside the ornate productions of canonical pieces for which the company is famous. The Met will also experiment with earlier curtain times, shortening some operas and offering more family fare as it tries to lure back audiences,” Cooper reports:

Classical comeback ‘possibly years’ away

On his Nightingale’s Sonata blog, flutist and arts consultant Thomas Wolf recounts the story of his Russian ancestors, prominent musicians in tsarist Russia who endured the influenza pandemic of 1918-20, only to face the privations of the communist revolution and civil war, and of being deemed political undesirables because of their status under the old regime, in the early Soviet Union.

The lessons Wolf draws from that history: “[T]here is a future for classical musicians and many aspects of the old career will probably come back in some form or another, though musicians will need to be creative in embracing new opportunities.” However, “it may take much time – possibly years – before that new stability is achieved.”