A bustling city that never sleeps with millions of residents and million more visitors; New York City will be considerably more quiet over the next few weeks.
After a speech from the White House announcing a travel ban, an announcement by New York state governor Andrew Cuomo, and fears over the spreading corona virus; The Metropolitan Opera has canceled all rehearsals and performances through the remainder of March. The closure will affect 21 performances including “Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman)” which was set to be broadcast in movie theatres around the world and soprano Diana Damrau and Royal Opera music director Antonio Pappano playing the piano.
Carnegie Hall has also announced that they will be canceling all of their performances for the rest of March. These performances include Angelique Kidjo and the Castalian String Quartet and Musical Armenia.
In light of Governor Cuomo’s announcement to limit crowd sizes and concern over the corona virus; especially after an employee has tested positive for the virus, Broadway has announced that all of their shows will go dark beginning March 12 with plans to resume productions on April 13 – the day after Easter.
In a statement, Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said, “our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals. Broadway has the power to inspire, enrich and entertain, and together we are committed to making that vital spirit a reality. Once our stages are lit again, we will welcome fans back with open arms so that they can continue to experience the joy, heart, and goodwill that our shows so passionately express every night.”
The travel ban has affected several of the performers since they cannot get to New York City. Gelb noted that full time union artists will remain on the payroll for the remainder of the month.
General Manager for The Met Peter Geld said that it is still too soon to tell whether they can salvage any of the remaining season which closes on May 9.
Depending on a fairly short season of performances each year, the cancellations will cost The Met…and the city millions of dollars in lost revenue. And while Broadway and Off Broadway runs year round, they will also suffer a great deal in financial losses.
Geld stated, we do not have business interruption insurance. In fact, I don’t believe any of the performing arts companies, or at least none of the others I’ve been talking to, have it;” adding that he hopes many of their patrons will gift their tickets to The Met in lieu of asking for a refund.