COVID illogic at the Met
This weekend, we watched a 9/11 memorial broadcast of Verdi's Requiem on PBS. Maybe some of you also saw it. It was quite an excellent and moving rendition of this classic, performed by the New York Metropolitan Orchestra and Chorus. It was not, however, without its share of irony, illogic, and political correctness. The audience was required to be vaccinated and masked as COVID-19 precautions. The orchestra was only partially masked. The chorus was seated side by side, row upon row without any social distancing, fully and dutifully covered by elegant black formal masks, which were only removed upon (wait for it) singing!
Now, I do not know of many more full-throated, lusty, or enthusiastic bits of chorale music than the Dies Irae and Sanctus of this requiem. It would seem that any captive COVID-bearing aerosol droplets yearning to be set free would be put into full flight by the mighty roar of the choir in Verdi's double-forte tribute to the Day of Wrath. Certainly, the collective exhalation of the deep-breathing choir would have distributed the mist thoroughly among themselves and into the orchestra (strategically seated below them), and maybe into the first ten or twenty rows of the audience. Following these choral outcries, whenever not singing, the chorale respectfully replaced their masks — apparently to protect themselves and others from their silent closed mouths. If there is any scientific, or other, explanation for this nonsense, I am not aware of it. I am not sure we will ever again return to normality, but some sanity would certainly be welcome.
Image: Public Domain.
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