Monnaie cancels whole season of Carmen over omicron

Monnaie cancels whole season of Carmen over omicron
Pascal Victor/De Munt

Opera company La Monnaie/De Munt has announced a decision to cancel a forthcoming season of Bizet’s opera Carmen, which was due to take place between 23 January and 13 February.

The opera house said the reason was that a number of the staff and players involved had been affected by the omicron virus, and the need to go into quarantine for those not immediately affected.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have had to decide to cancel Carmen’s entire performance series,” the house said in a press release yesterday.

The release goes on to explain that a number of those involved are already sick and in quarantine, which would make any production difficult.

Part of the blame falls on the shoulders of the Consultative Committee, which had been scheduled to discuss with the arts sector a plan that would allow their operations to return step by step to normal. However that meeting has now been postponed until after the Carmen season was due to take place.

One of the items on the agenda would have been an increase in the number of audience members allowed at each performance. At present, there is a blanket ceiling of 200 for all venues – a limit which puts pressure on most venues. But La Monnaie is bigger and roomier than most venues, and could potentially be made more safe while housing a larger audience.

According to the organisers, to put on 12 performances of the opera with audiences of no more than 200 would be disastrous financially, while Carmen is known to be a crowd-pleaser, and could normally be expected to fill the seats.

“We realise that this will disappoint both our subscribers and the many visitors to this specific title, but we are doing everything we can to make the performance series of our co-producer in Luxembourg possible”. The opera house said.

“A return for a new performance series of Carmen in de Munt, which premiered at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2017, is currently being investigated.”

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