In Italy, the theater reopens in a town devastated by COVID

Milan (AP)-Signing a resurgence, the Donizetti Theater in Bergamo, a city in northern Italy devastated by a coronavirus pandemic, reopened this weekend after three years of refurbishment.

However, the planned celebration was postponed and the new work of the annual festival dedicated to the city’s native composer Gaetano Donizetti had to be streamed online from an empty theater.

Festival music director Riccardo Frizza said the autumn festival was conceived as a moment to affirm the lives of the city and state, which killed 6,000 people in a month last spring. In the summer he conducted Donizet’s Requiem and performed outside the city cemetery in honor of the dead.

“I need to know that some people in my festival orchestra and chorus have lost a few families,” Frizza said. “I couldn’t have a festival without making this tribute to people I’m no longer with.”

Even though Bergamo itself is experiencing a lighter transmission than spring, the virus revived in October when images of military trucks transporting the dead to other areas for cremation exposed pandemic victims. After starting, the audience’s plans had to be abandoned. The calendar has been cut into three productions.

Donizetti’s Marino Faliero, Renotzein Villa and Belisario weekend performances are all available online indefinitely for a subscription price of € 59 ($ 70). Friza said freelance singers and musicians need money to get some back on their income for a year when classical music was almost shut down by the coronavirus.

Italy closed all theaters in February and reopened tentatively in the summer.

While several other theaters offer free online streaming of archives, Frizza said few theaters offer new opera productions. The Donizetti Theater Package includes perks such as commentary, interviews, and virtual tours of the refurbished theater, and the frescoed ceilings bring fresh vibrancy. Another Donizetti opera “L’ange de Nisida”, shot last year, will be released on Wednesday.

In comparison, Milan’s famous La Scala Museum will broadcast the December 7th concert on state television in place of the opening round of the traditional Gala season.

Rigorous protocols have been introduced, including weekly tests and individual rehearsals, to ensure the health of the Donizetti Festival orchestra, singers and choirs. During weekend performances, the choir, most orchestras, and Frizza wore masks.

In Skala, more than 40 choirs were virus-positive, and an additional 18 were orchestral-positive.

Frizza, who suffered a mild bout of the virus during the peak of March when Italy was completely blocked, said no one at the festival was infected with the virus during the rehearsal. This is important for a live performance despite the partial blockade in Lombardy.

“I can’t imagine the March blockade without music, books, and television,” Frizza said. “The pandemic has taught people who we didn’t understand before the importance of culture, art and beauty in the world.”

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In Italy, the theater reopens in a town devastated by COVID

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