Less than 24 hours before the representation on Sunday, January 2, La bohème at the Teatro Real in Madrid, the institution has canceled the show for this day, “due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19.” However, he has announced that “out of respect for the public,” the theater “will do everything possible to offer the last two performances”, scheduled for January 3 and 4, “with the help of its Medical Committee and strictly complying with the health safety guidelines of the Community of Madrid and the Government of Spain “. As reported by the communication area to elDiario.es, the functions of 3 and 4 are still standing.
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Due to various contagions, the Royal Theater has been making last minute substitutions between the interpreters. La bohème by Giacomo Puccini is a co-production with the Royal Opera House in London and the Lyric Opera in Chicago. With a dramatic direction by the prestigious British Richard Jones, it has as musical director Nicola Luisotti, main guest conductor of the Teatro Real (with the exception of December 30 and January 3, in which the opera is directed by Luis Miguel Méndez) . The opera has been staged since December 12 with 15 performances in total (discounting the one canceled this Sunday) and has two different castings, as usual, to be able to take the appropriate breaks. In this case, some alternations have been due to infections and quarantines, as reported by the specialized media, without the Royal Theater having communicated it.
The function canceled this Sunday had to be performed by the first cast, consisting of Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo and Ermonela Jaho as Mimì, under the direction of Nicola Luisotti. On the other hand, for the one that remains on Monday 3, the main interpreters are Andeka Gorrotxategi and Eleonora Buratto, with exceptional direction by Luis Miguel Méndez, from which it is deduced that the positive cases are among the first cast. Michael Fabiano himself has confirmed on Twitter, retweeting a message from an opera specialist, that both he and soprano Ermonela Jaho have tested positive, the latter also confirming it.
The specialized media Platea reported that in the representation of December 29, the Real pushed forward the function combining interpreters of the two deliveries, due to an outbreak of COVID-19 infections. In the following day’s performance, the curtain had to be lowered in the fourth act so that Joshua Guerrero, the American tenor who was playing Rodolfo, the main character, was replaced by Andeka Gorrotxategui to end the performance. Gorrotxategui had been announced at first as a tenor of the second cast, sharing a character with Michael Fabiano.
The sources consulted from the Teatro Real do not specify if it is a COVID-19 outbreak or isolated cases, or who or how many interpreters or workers of the institution it affects. El Real already suffered outbreaks of coronavirus in 2021, with more than twenty cases in the opera team Peter Grimes. Throughout the pandemic, this scenic institution has had different problems related to its management of security measures. In September 2020, it was the public who forced the cancellation of a performance of A Ballo in maschera when assessing that there was not enough safety distance, although the theater reported that the capacity had been reduced to 51.5%. The police verified that the stipulated capacity was respected and the Royal Theater announced an “internal investigation”.
The opera journalist Dejan Vukosavljevic, a critic of the OperaWire medium, has noted that these changes have been made without notifying the public or the press prior to the opening of the curtain. Vukosavljevic has been asked in networks why the Real “insists on facing serious risks” such as maintaining the functions of January 3 and 4. In Austria, the Vienna Opera has canceled all his performances between January 1 and 5 due to the situation of high infections by the Ómicro variant of the coronavirus.