The curtains are also being raised at long last elsewhere in the capital of music and culture! The Vienna State Opera will get the new season underway with a stunning premiere of Madame Butterfly – which also spells the end of its enforced closure due to COVID-19.
Vienna’s opera houses, concert venues and other stages throughout the city are now opening their doors again for indoor cultural events. The Vienna State Opera set the ball rolling on 7 September 2020 with a premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. This performance at the capital’s world-famous opera house signals a resumption of its regular programme, which also marks the beginning of a new era. Under new General Director Bogdan Roščić, who succeeds Dominique Meyer, the 2020/21 season will bring new productions of ten operas and two ballets featuring some of the highest-profile conductors, singers and producers from the world of opera. Roščić is joined by the Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan as director of music – who will take up the baton for the new production of Madama Butterfly with the celebrated Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian cast in the title role.
However, the number of seats available is restricted, and the Vienna State Opera will be offering fewer tickets than usual as a result. To keep audience members, performers and staff as safe as possible, a comprehensive set of guidelines has been drawn up to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. It covers all aspects of the opera-going experience, from buying tickets to leaving the building safely after the performance ends.
As a general rule, masks must be worn at all times at the Vienna State Opera, except during the actual performance, when they can be removed. A minimum distance of one metre from other audience and staff members must be observed at all times. Hand sanitizer is provided for guests to use. Only the seats assigned on the personalised ticket may be used – audience members are asked not to shout bravo etc. But they are free to clap as loudly as they like!
All tickets have names printed on them. This is to ensure that contact tracing can be started quickly in the event of a case of Covid-19. Opera goers are required to bring a photo ID with them for verification purposes. Seating layouts have been adapted to comply with the official coronavirus ordinance, and the number of seats has been reduced to ensure the minimum distancing requirements can be observed. The interval rooms and bars will be open. Audience members must wear a mask on the way to and from their seat and are asked to pay electronically. Once the performance ends, guests must leave the building by the most direct route. The Vienna State Opera will continue to offer its popular standing tickets for EUR 10. However this area of the venue now also has seats, rather than standing room only.
Meanwhile, it is not just the State Opera that is back – the capital’s entire culture scene is also sending out a signal with a confident start to the fall season. Selected highlights: the first high point of the new season at the Musikverein under the new executive and artistic director Stephan Pauly comes courtesy of the Vienna Philharmonic on October 1, 3, 4 and 5, 2020 with Beethoven symphonies conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.
The Wiener Konzerthaus is starting up again at the beginning of September 2020 with a celebratory Beethoven programme from Camerata Salzburg. Meanwhile, the Theater an der Wien kicks off its season on 16 September 2020 with the premiere of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Zazá, produced by Christof Loy. The Burgtheater is opening on 11 September 2020 with a production of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Life is a Dream, directed by Martin Kušej.
There will also be safety, hygiene and distancing rules in place at all of these venues, with adapted capacity limits in order to comply with the official COVID-19 protection regulations, meaning that audiences can get back to enjoying music and theatre again without any misgivings.