Spanish lyrical spaces show their chests for their management during the pandemic | Culture

Responsible for 16 of the 25 theaters that make up Ópera XXI, this Monday after the assembly held at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville.
Responsible for 16 of the 25 theaters that make up Ópera XXI, this Monday after the assembly they have held at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville.Alejandro Ruesga. / THE COUNTRY

We make the extraordinary possible It is the title of the campaign with which the Ópera XXI association summarizes its management since, on June 22, 2020, the health authorities ended a 98-day confinement that kept all of Spain paralyzed. “Our country has been an example of how to manage a reality as complex as this in an efficient and safe way at a time when theaters around the world were closed”, Oriol Aguilà, director of the Castell Festival, commented this Monday in Seville de Peralada and president of Ópera XXI.

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According to the association’s data, in Spain 284 titles have been performed in the last 10 months, including zarzuela, opera, concerts, lyrical recitals and dance shows, of which 563 performances have been offered for almost 359,000 spectators. Data that does not include activities such as theater or other musical genres in those same settings. “We have made a titanic effort to be able to remain open, adapting at all times to the necessary security measures that, in some cases, have changed on the day of the show. An effort that has left us exhausted on a psychological and economic level ”, added Javier Menéndez, general director of the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, who has been the host of the first face-to-face meeting of Ópera XXI since it was held in October 2019 at the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo.

According to the members of Ópera XXI, this “titanic effort” that all the scenic spaces have made to make Spain the great cultural exception in the world during the months of the pandemic should be recognized by the Administrations. “Financial resources are essential, but imagination, creativity and public commitment are also necessary. Now we are working on the design of the new season without renouncing the level of quality to which our public is accustomed ”, Menéndez pointed out.

“We not only need the financial support, but also an empathy that has not always existed when the security protocols against the coronavirus have been changed overnight. We need stable rules, not unjustified changes; of course it is always that the evolution of the pandemic allows it ”, Aguilà has abounded. The association is made up of 25 theaters such as Real de Madrid, Liceu de Barcelona, ​​Palau de les Arts de Valencia, Cervantes de Málaga or Arriaga de Bilbao.

The capacities allowed by the health authorities during the pandemic have ranged between 7% and 66%, always depending on the autonomous community or province and the phase in which it was found. Between March and June, when all non-essential activity has been closed, these spaces have offered their productions in streaming for free that more than two million people have seen from their homes.

The meeting was attended by 17 heads of theaters, festivals, foundations and lyrical associations and the rest of the members have followed it electronically. The assembly has approved the incorporation of the San Carlo theater in Lisbon as an honorary member, with which it joins the Colón de Buenos Aires, which has been part of Ópera XXI since 2019. “Our idea is to add so that the association ends up being Ibero-American” Menéndez has advanced, host of the event when the Teatro de la Maestranza turns 30, a date that was celebrated this weekend with a lyrical gala in which the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville and the singers Ainhoa ​​Arteta, Leonor Bonilla, Simón Orfila and José Bros, among others, have performed pieces related to the city.

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