fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Classical Gas: A night at the opera, corona style

Following a performance to an audience full of plants in a Barcelona opera house, opera companies in Germany, the UK and the United States are turning to drive-in venues for their opportunity to restart business again.

Dusseldorf’s D.Live, a pioneer of the drive-in concert space, hosted its first-ever drive-in opera last week, with more than 70 performers taking to the 60 metre-wide stage at its Autokino Düsseldorf.

The evening saw the Deutsche Oper am Rhein (German Opera on the Rhine) perform excerpts from popular operas such as Carmen, The Barber of Seville, La Traviata and Nabucco, along with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra to a sold-out, 500-carpacity crowd. Almost 2,000 spectators went to the event, with up to five people able to attend on a €50, one car ticket.

The performance was shown on the 400-square-metre screen with the audio transmitted to car radios via VHF (very high frequency) signals.

The opera is the latest in a long line of D.Live drive-ins, which have included live shows, DJ ‘club nights’, stand-up comedy routines, circus shows, weddings, a first communion and a pole vaulting competition, in addition to the traditional film nights.

“This gala by the Deutsche Oper am Rhein at the Autokino Düsseldorf was the first major opera event to be staged after a three-month break,” says D.Live CEO, Michael Brill. “International soloists, the opera choir and a big symphony orchestra on the huge cinema stage ensured a fabulous evening with plenty of spine-tingling moments.”

Opera companies in Germany, the UK and the United States are turning to drive-in venues for their opportunity to restart business again

Operas are set to arrive at drive-in venues elsewhere, too. A fully staged production of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca will take place in front of 600 cars in the grounds of former IBM complex Tech City in New York as part of the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice on 29 August.

The English National Opera (ENO) also recently announced a drive-in series, Drive and Live, which will see 90-minute versions of Puccini’s La bohème performed live to a 300-carpacity audience at Alexandra Palace Park in London.

The ENO will broadcast sound to cars via bluetooth and states it is exploring options for hiring static vehicles, so those without cars could also attend. The company also aims to set up socially distanced spaces for motorbikes and bicycles.

The opera will run from 19 to 27 September, with tickets costing £100 per car (four people maximum per vehicle). Fans can register their interest here.

The ENO has also announced plans for a series of socially distanced, scaled down shows at the 2,359-seat London Coliseum, following the UK government’s halving of the former two-metre distancing rule.

The new one-metre rule means the venue could operate at 48% of full capacity, rather than 20%, says ENO chief executive Stuart Murphy, with a two-seat, one-row gap between audience members.

Concert giant Live Nation is another to get involved in the drive-in live event scene, recently announcing drive-in concert series in the UK, featuring Dizzee Rascal, Gary Numan, Beverley Knight, the Streets and Kaiser Chiefs, and the United States, with acts such as Brad Paisley, Nelly, Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Classical music festivals to go ahead this summer

A number of classical music festivals are taking place in Europe this summer, as organisers find ways to work with social distancing requirements.

Austria’s Salzburg Festival and Grafenegg Festival are going ahead in August, with capacity reductions, checkerboard seating plans, sanitary regulations and testing systems in place.


Salzburg Festival, originally scheduled to start on 18 July, will now kick off on 1 August, when audiences of 1,250 will be permitted at outdoor events in Austria, and run to the end of the month. The programme, initially comprising 212 performances, will be scaled down to 90.

Capacity will be also be pared back at 50%, with the 1,500-seat Haus für Mozart capped at 800 and a maximum of around 700 tickets sold for the 1,400-seat Felsenreitschule. The festival had sold 180,000 of its total 230,000 tickets prior to lockdown restrictions, and is now limiting seats to around 70,000.

Only those who already bought tickets can still attend and there will be a limit of two tickets per person. Names of ticketholders will be printed on the tickets to enable contact tracing.

Near to Vienna, the Grafenegg Festival will start on 14 August in the grounds of the 32-acre Grafenegg castle.

A number of classical music festivals are taking place in Europe this summer, as organisers find ways to work with social distancing requirements

Organisers of the event released an updated programme on 3 June, consisting of predominantly domestic acts. Tickets are limited to two per person, per event and all attendees will be required to wear masks when not seated and keep “sufficient distance” from other guests.

In neighbouring Italy, where live shows are returning next week, large classical music event the Ravenna Festival is taking place from 21 June to 30 July in the towns of Cervia and Lugo, with the main stage at the open-air Brancaleone fortress in Ravenna itself.

Tickets, which go on sale on 11 June, will be limited to two per person. Capacity will be set at 300 for the events in the fortress and at a specially erected arena in Cervia, with the Pavaglione in Lugo holding up to 500 people. Much of the programme will also be streamed live online.

Those who purchased tickets before the suspension of sales and the announcement of the new program can obtain a refund by voucher, as per Italian legislation.

Opera festivals in Rossini, Torre del Lago, Martina Franca and Macerata have also adjusted their programmes in order to go ahead this summer.

In Estonia, where open-air shows of up to 1,000 spectators and indoor concerts of 500 can take place next month, Pärnu Music Festival is taking place from 16 to 23 July for audiences of 300. More details on the programme and running of the event will become available later this week.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

LA Opera, IFPI investigate ‘Opera King’ sexual misconduct

The Los Angeles Opera and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) have launched separate investigations into opera superstar Plácido Domingo, who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.

Multi Grammy award-winning singer and conductor Domingo has served as general director of the LA Opera since 2003 and as IFPI chairman since 2011.

On Tuesday (13 August), the Associated Press reported that nine women in the opera industry had come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Domingo, spanning over three decades. Seven of the nine claim they felt their careers would have been jeopardised if they rejected Domingo’s advances.

A further six individuals told the AP that “suggestive overtures” by the singer had made them feel uncomfortable. Only one of the subjects, retired opera singer Patricia Wulf, allowed her name to be used in the report.

In response to the reports, the LA Opera is hiring a third party counsel to investigate “the concerning allegations”, as the IFPI launches its own “formal inquiry” into the accusations.

The Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera have cancelled upcoming performances by Domingo.

The singer had been invited to appear at the opening gala for the Philadelphia Orchestra on September 18, and was also set to make his 50th anniversary appearance with the San Francisco Opera on October 6.

“I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual”

New York’s Metropolitan Opera is awaiting the results of investigations “before making any final decisions” regarding Domingo, who is to perform in three operatic productions of Macbeth next month.

The opera star will appear at the Salzburg Festival in Austria as planned on 31 August. Festival president Helga Rabl-Stadler said it would be “factually wrong and morally irresponsible to make irreversible judgements at this point.”

Domingo calls the allegations “deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate.”

“Still, it is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable – no matter how long ago and despite my best intentions. I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual,” continues Domingo in a statement issued to the AP.

“People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone. However, I recognise that the rules and standards by which we are – and should be – measured against today are very different than they were in the past.”

The opera singer has upcoming European dates in Hungary, Switzerland, Russia, Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Flow Festival collaborates with Finnish National Opera

Helsinki-based Flow Festival has announced a collaboration with the Finnish National Opera, bringing contemporary dance, electronic music and audiovisual to the Opera house at Almi Hall (500-cap.).

The Almi Hall performances, which will take place on the two nights preceding the festival on 7 and 8 August, are the work of British choreographer Wayne McGregor.

McGregor, famed for his work with the Royal Ballet, will present his dance portrait Autobiography Edits, in collaboration with experimental electronic music producer Jlin. The piece will be performed by ten dancers from Company Wayne McGregor, accompanied by live music performed by Jlin.

Both nights are opened by Fractal Fantasy’s Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, who will present a mix of electronic music and audiovisual art.

According to Flow’s artistic director Tuomas Kallio, the National Opera collaboration will “kick things off with something different this year”.

Kallio tells IQ that he has “great expectations” for this year’s Flow Festival, which features performances from Cardi B, the Cure, Tame Impala, Robyn and James Blake.

“Many European bookers say it’s been a very difficult year to book bigger acts but looking at the Flow Festival 2019 line-up, I guess we’ve been quite lucky”

Many European bookers say it’s been a very difficult year to book bigger acts but looking at the Flow Festival 2019 lineup, I guess we’ve been quite lucky,” says Kallio, adding that the Flow team has been happy so far, despite “fees getting crazy” and “competition on the most-wanted acts getting harder.”

Another new addition for the 2019 edition of Flow Festival is “Pink Space”, a conceptual indoor venue that “celebrates Flow’s diversity and inclusivity”.

Flow has been working towards achieving a gender-balanced line-up since 2010, and Kallio admits that it has proved more taxing to increase the presence of female performers within some musical genres than others.

“What worries me,” says Kallio, “is that people mostly talk about binary gender male/female and there are many artists who don’t want to place themselves into that binary picture at all… and that’s the problem to start with. We need to be careful that we do all this the right way or we end up making things worse for certain people.”

Providence-backed Superstruct Entertainment acquired a stake in Flow Festival in November 2018.

Flow Festival will take place from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 August. Tickets for both the festival and the pre-festival opera events are available here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.