Can you have normal opera in abnormal times ?

The Times today describes how it is planned that Glyndebourne will operate this summer. As a full member my chances of getting tickets would be high, but I won’t be applying. To go to a production in normal times is one of the highlights of my summer. It’s pretty much a faultless experience. And one that really doesn’t need changing. But these are not normal times and it’s quite clear that as planned the festival cannot be what it should be.

Social distancing at Glyndebourne is not unknown. I remember one year a distinguished and rather snobbish patron who knew me reacted in a surprised way. “What on Earth are you doing here?” He said. I survived! But most of the time it’s a little bit of England that even the most rebellious member of the audience will be seduced by.

A half full auditorium and a plethora of other restrictions is not for me I’m afraid. I’ve had enough of abnormal this past twelve months – I’ll wait for the return of normality. Others will take a different decision and that is their call. And I admire Mr Christie for all he has done. I don’t know whether the long dinner interval will take place but if not surely this is a time for live streaming?

The psychology of this summer will force us to make a choice between “better than nothing” and “no ersatz experience thanks”. My avoidance of socially distanced events is my choice and I do not offer it as a recommendation. It’s not based on fear of the virus but on a personal unwillingness to accept second best. For me you cannot have normal opera in abnormal times.

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