COVID-19 Outbreak Forces Verbier Festival to Make Changes to Opening Night Program

By David Salazar

The Verbier Festival has been forced to adjust its opening night program due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

In a press release, the company revealed that the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchesta would be replacing the Verbier Festival Orchestra as several orchestra members tested positive for COVID-19 during the preparations for the festival back in late June. The affected persons were thus identified and put into isolation, as were those in close contact with them.

In a separate email, John Heylar, Artistic Administrator of the Orchestra, noted that per Cantonal authorities, those who tested positive would remain in quarantine for 10 days. Moreover, everyone, vaccinated or not, will be receiving more tests on July 12 and 15, while non-vaccinated / non-immune persons will remain in quarantine.

The organization is also requiring the wearing of masks for everyone in the Verbier Festival Orchestra bubble “when with another person in the bubble” and those already in the bubble will be prohibited from having any contact with new arrivals (the email specifies that contact with members of the Chamber Orchestra is “currently forbidden until further notice”).

Valery Gergiev will remain on the program to conduct Prokofiev’s First Symphony and Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto, which will still be performed by Denis Matsuev. The concert is scheduled for July 16, 2021.