With the triumph of Tosca with a doble bis of Sondra Radvanovsky and Jonas Kaufmann under conductor Nicola Luisotti, the curtain comes down on the 24th season of the Teatro Real – the most extraordinary since its reopening in 1997 a season which required a tremendous effort by everyone involved in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On June 2 last year when the Teatro Real convened the press – with strict health and safety measures – to present its 2020-2021 Season opera houses around the world were closed to the public. At the same time the Teatro Real was preparing, with the utmost precautions, the semi concert version of La Traviata with which it opened its doors again after the end of the confinement in Spain.
What was considered an impossible feat at that time, concluded successfully this past weekend thanks to the support of the Public Administration of the Government of Spain, the Regional Government and City Hall of Madrid; the directives and constant attentiveness of the Medical Committee of the Teatro Real; the trust shown by the artists who overcame many difficulties and bureaucratic complications to travel to Madrid; the implication and energy of the personnel of the Teatro Real and its Chorus and Orchestra; the generous contributions of the Patrons and the Foundation of the Friends of the Teatro Real; the support and confidence of the public and the online audience all over the world and the absolutely essential collaboration of the Press. To everyone, our most profound gratitude.
THE ARTISTIC PROGRAMME
During its OPERA SEASON the Teatro Real presented 6 new productions: 3 which premiered in Madrid Rusalka, Peter Grimes and Norma, 2 world premieres Marie and Tránsito and the premiere in Spain of Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali, by Gaetano Donizetti, with the production of Viva la Mamma!. There were also 4 guest productions ─ Un ballo in maschera, Don Giovanni, Siegfried and Tosca ─ and 2 operas in concert version: Don Fernando, el emplazado and Orlando Furioso.
Of the originally scheduled opera programme Lessons in Love and Violence by George Benjamin has been postponed for an upcoming season along with the concert versions of Elektra and Le Ballet Royal de la Nuit (The Birth of the Sun King) the latter being scheduled for June 19, 2022.
All the LYRIC CONCERTS – Philippe Jaroussky, Joyce DiDonato, Jonas Kaufmann, Javier Camarena and Piotr Beczala – took place, with the exception of Audra McDonald, who was obliged to cancel her European tour.
The pandemic interfered with the DANCE PROGRAMME because neither the Bayerisches Staatsballet nor the Royal Ballet of Flanders were able to travel to Spain. These troupes were replaced by the Compañía Antonio Gades and IT Dansa from Cataluña. Only the Compañía Nacional de España was able to perform its originally planned programme, a tribute to George Balanchine.
Some of the shows for children in the series EL REAL JUNIOR were affected by the pandemic but there were no changes to any of the operas in the film series ÓPERA EN CINE or to the Sunday chamber music series LOS DOMINGOS DE CÁMARA with musicians of the Orquesta Titular del Teatro Real.
Besides the artistic programming, there were also some other projects during the season. Special attention was given to children and young people in activities such as EL REAL EN TU CLASE, EL REAL JOVEN, CRESCENDO or MÚSICA INCLUSIVA.
The confinement and travel restrictions substantially increased the number of subscribers and users of MyOperaPlayer, which continues to expand its catalogue. There have been live retransmissions of some of the Teatro Real productions such as Peter Grimes, Viva la Mamma! and Tosca. Others such as Rusalka and Siegfried were recorded to be aired at a later date.
COEXISTING WITH THE PANDEMIC
In accordance with the instructions of its Medical Committee, the maximum audience capacity of the main auditorium of the Teatro Real throughout the entire season was 66% of the total seating capacity (even though the regional government of Madrid authorised 75% seating capacity) and this never exceeded 1200 spectators.
The health and safety measures infrastructure of the building, consultancy services, extra personnel, Covid19 tests, protective materials, disinfection resulted in an outlay of more than 1 million euros. To deal efficiently with the constant relocating of audience seating and data compilation, the Subscriber Support and Care Service was created.
With the complicity and flexibility of the stage producers, conductors, scenographers, costume designers, artists, the Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, solutions were found and adapted to the needs of each opera production.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
The courage, work and tenacity of the Teatro Real to execute its season has been recognized by artists, institutions and public personalities in Spain and beyond. The numerous health and safety measures – regarding singers, the chorus and orchestra, technicians, the rehearsal rooms and workshops, the audience… – were shared with theatres, auditoriums and musical associations throughout the world.
On May 10, the International Opera Awards presented the Teatro Real with the award of Best Opera Company in recognition for its artistic programme for 2019-2020. This prize crowned a season which was already very special and, indeed, would not have been possible without the support and conviction of one and all.
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