An outbreak of Covid invections among the dancers at La Scala has led to the premiere of the new production of La Bayadère on 15 December being cancelled, or rather postponed. Hoping that the current quarantining of the company will be effective, the preview performance for young people, originally scheduled for 14 December, will take place on Monday 20 December at 2.30 pm, and the performances on 15 and 17 December have been rescheduled to take place on 12 and 13 January respectively. This will also necessitate changes of casting, which will be communicated at a later date.
According to La Repubblica newspaper, at La Scala more than a quarter of the corps de ballet, consisting of 80 dancers, has not yet been vaccinated, and it seems that some of the maîtres de ballet who are anti-vaxxers have caused the outbreak of Covid. There must be an element of rumour in this news, as health records of the theatre’s personnel are private, but there has been reported tension in the company between those who are vaccinated and those who are not. According to trade union sources, who talked to the newspaper, one maître who refused to get vaccinated had their contract renewed just three months ago.
Until a few days ago, every dancer was tested each day but not the maîtres who are obliged to wear masks during rehearsals.
Yesterday, 12 dancers tested positive, nine of whom are unvaccinated. It has just been announced that after the latest swabs, the number of dancers and production staff testing positive for Covid has risen to 14, and those who have had contact with them (almost everyone) must self-isolate, so all rehearsals have been cancelled.
Two children from La Scala’s dancing school who are in the production have also tested positive, so the 20 children in the production are now at home.
Only 400 of the 900 employees at La Scala have answered ‘yes’ to a questionnaire on the super Green Pass, which is given to those who are vaccinated or who have recovered from a Covid infection but not to those who produce a negative test result who can obtain the basic version of the green pass. The basic version is accepted in workplaces and on public transport. Since Monday 6 December, the ‘super’ or rafforzato (strengthened) version is needed to attend sports events, concerts, cinemas, indoor restaurants, bars… and theatres.
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.