Healing with the Power of Music, Utah Symphony and Opera set to return to live performance

Coronavirus Updates
Utah Symphony

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera have announced their 2020-21 season. With a new schedule of live performances, and new health and safety protocols designed for the safety of artists, staff, and audiences.

“The people in every facet of the Symphony and Opera have missed the opportunity to create incredible live music performances for the people of Utah. We are excited to return to Abravanel Hall and the Capitol Theatre and do so with a focus on the health, wellbeing and safety of our orchestra, patrons, staff and community at large,” said newly appointed president and CEO Steven Brosvik. “We believe strongly in the powerful healing effect of music to connect communities during difficult times such as these. It is with great deliberation that we resume these live performances in a limited capacity so that we can return to improving people’s lives.”

Its safety first when the performances start on Thursday, Sept. 17, according to a press release sent to ABC4 News, the programs will be shorter, require fewer musicians per show, and allows greater distance between the artists. The frequency of the performances will increase due to the reduced capacity for each performance.

The first live performances will be September 17, 18, and 19. The first time the symphony has performed since March 2020. The release states, “Led by Music Director Thierry Fischer, the opening weekend performances feature a revised program of Utah Symphony string musicians performing Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings,” Fela Sowande’s “Joyful Day” and Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.”

“Music deserves to be heard live and I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that is committed to bringing our orchestra back in person to heal and inspire our community during this challenging time,” said Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer. “I speak on behalf of the orchestra musicians in expressing our gratitude to our audience, donors, and general public for encouraging us and supporting us during our six months away from the stage. As we head back into the hall, we are energized to harness music to uplift and reflect the vast emotions we are experiencing together as a collective, and also in isolation. Music has an ability to connect us all. We hope that our re-imagined season provides the healing and inspiration you have been yearning for.”

The Opera will return in October.

Since the schedule has been changed because of the pandemic, Patron Services will contact ticket holders who are affected.

Here are the health and safety measures you should be aware of:

The following is a list of things audience members should know. The orchestra’s return to Abravanel Hall are not without adjustments to the regular concert-going experience. A 12-foot stage extension and reduced complement of primarily string musicians will allow for six-foot spacing between performers. No guest artists will appear on the fall Masterworks Series performances. For full details of the health and safety plan, visit https://usuo.org/re-imagined/.

The opera’s performances at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre will run 90 minutes with no intermission. Digital projections will be used throughout and the vocalists will perform in front of the proscenium. The orchestra will be seated on stage, behind the performers, rather than in the orchestra pit.

USUO has implemented new protocols for in-person concerts following recommendations from the state health department, Center for Disease Control (CDC), Salt Lake County Arts & Culture, and consultation with infectious disease specialists. New measures will follow social distancing recommendations and limit in-person interactions for audience members. These procedures include:

  • Event capacity is limited to allow for six-foot spacing between household groups. There will be two empty rows of seats in front of and behind patrons and a minimum of three empty seats on either side of the household.
  • Patrons are required to wear face masks, covering the mouth and nose, when entering the building and throughout the duration of the performance.
  •  Ticket scanning is contactless and patrons are asked to use mobile tickets via the USUO App.
  • All attendees are required to confirm they are not experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms before attending performances.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are available in the lobby and increased cleaning regimens, including deep cleaning between performances, are in place.
  • Performances will be shorter, without intermission, to reduce gathering and lines.
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