Russian media outlet RBC is reporting that some artists of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg have been quarantined after testing positive for coronavirus.
According to sources close to the theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre has a large number of people who became ill in the ballet company. Most classes have been suspended, and the rehearsals for Giselle have been cancelled. Opera performances are continuing, and Giselle is scheduled to open tomorrow, 13 August, but artists not involved in performances have been asked not to enter the building.
Valery Gergiev said that “two or three” dancers had tested positive after feeling unwell. A Mariinsky dancer who tested positive and is running a temperature said that several others had become ill, but she didn't know how many. The Mariinsky's press office said that their artists are tested regularly, and those infected are being treated at home.
At the Bolshoi Theatre, sources told RBC that after a dancer fell ill, the theatre had decided to quarantine 59 people, including dancers and pianists, who had come into contact with the dancer. They have been tested for the virus. Yesterday the opera house's Intendant, Vladimir Urin, stated that those placed in quarantine had tested negative, and the head of the press office, Katerina Novikova, also confirmed that a ballerina had fallen ill,
I won't say who it is, and I don't know all the details, but everyone who has been in contact with her is now in quarantine.
She stressed that work in the theatre was continuing.
The Bolshoi's 245th season doesn't open until 6 September, starring Anna Netrebko in Don Carlo, but rehearsals are currently taking place in the theatre.
Russian theatres can currently sell tickets up to half of their seating capacity, and masks are obligatory.
Photo credit: AndreyFilippov.com Bolshoi Theatre of Russia via photopin (license)
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
Friends of ours who are Bolshoi dancers say there is currently no problem there.
The theatre’s director, Urin, confirmed the report at a press conference yesterday, and the press office (who didn’t comment when the news came out four days ago) has also confirmed what is written above. Maybe the dancers have been asked not to discuss the situation?
You may well be right, Graham. I don’t want to press our friends further, obviously, but they seem to feel secure and happy to be back in the studio. I do hope we are not going to see backward steps in those companies who have decided to forge ahead….
Neither do I. A minor setback, maybe useful to remind the company that there are still risks. I know a couple from the Bolshoi who have recently caught a plane and travelled for work without any problems
The problem in most theatres is the inadequate space backstage!