Furloughed Met Opera Artists to Present Live, Socially-Distanced Concerts

By David Salazar

Several furloughed members of the Metropolitan Opera’s ballet, chorus, and orchestra, are joining forces to present socially-distanced live concerts at Arts on Site.

The showcases, which will take place on March 6 and 7 at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., will allow for a limited number of audience members, all following safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Singers will be masked and behind a plexiglass barrier for performances with all dancers and musicians masked and distanced.

The performance will include selections from French, German, Italian art songs, opera arrangements, and flamenco music.

The creative direction and choreography of the performance will be by Met dancers, including Emery LeCrone, Bradley Shelver, Shay Bland, Caleb Marshall-Villarreal, and Jose Moreno. Among the musicians performing are Met Opera staff pianist Brian Fitzsousa, Met Orchestra violist Mary Hammann, violinist and assistant concertmaster Bruno Eicher, and cellist Kari Jane Docter. Finally Met Chorus artists include Anne Nonnemacher and Seth Malkin.

Met dancers leading the initiative include Mara Driscoll and Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow. The plan is for the program to also take place at outdoor, distanced venues during the Spring and Summer. There will also be a production of a filmed version with dance videographer Angelo Vasta.

The Met Opera’s orchestra members have been furloughed without pay for almost one year since the theater closed down in mid-March due to the spread of COVID-19. In recent leaked emails, it was revealed that the two sides remain at a standstill regarding negotiations for payment.