rainn.png
Sunday June 20th, 2021 2:21AM

Dallas Symphony among 1st US orchestras to return

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Fabio Luisi never expected his first performance as Dallas Symphony Orchestra music director to be in a mostly empty Meyerson Symphony Center.

“Who could imagine this planetary thing?” the 61-year-old conductor said.

He agreed in June 2018 to a contract with Dallas that starts this season and runs through 2023-24, and his tenure starts Thursday with an all-Beethoven program that includes Piano Concerto No. 2 with Yefim Bronfman and Symphony No. 8.

Dallas becomes among the first large U.S. classical organization to return from the layoff caused by COVID-19. The audience will be capped at 75 in an auditorium that usually seats about 1,800, allowing more than 20 feet between each person. There will not be an intermission, and the orchestra will be cut from about 70 to 35. String players will wear masks.

“Better safe than sorry,” Luisi said. “We are used to an empty hall because our rehearsals are there. I think it's not going to be an issue.”

This will be the first performance by the orchestra since March 8, and a free video stream will be released on Sept. 18.

Dallas lost its final 77 performances last season and announced its revised 2020-21 schedule in July. The audience was selected from among season subscribers.

“We’re essentially trying to accommodate them because they took this leap of faith and had no idea if we were going to have a season. We had to disappoint many people,” CEO Kim Noltemy said. "It’s kind of emotional for people since they’ve had it taken away from them for so long.”

The Dallas Symphony cut its budget to about $33 million from nearly $40 million. About 30% of revenue is earned, with the donations covering much of the rest.

“Rebounding for us is easier than rebounding say for an orchestra that had a 45 or 50% ticket sales budget,” Noltemy said. “We’ve spent a lot of time during this period connecting with audiences in a variety of ways, from daily outdoor concerts in neighborhoods in May and June. to a lot of digital content. And even having musicians calling patrons to say, 'Hi’ and see how they’re doing.”

A $4.4 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan allowed the orchestra to cover payroll for two months. Permanent layoffs were avoided although it did have temporary furloughs.

Dallas retained the law firm Squire Patton Boggs to obtain a travel waiver from the federal government that allowed Luisi to enter the country. The stoppage caused by the new coronavirus led to the collapse of Columbia Artists Management Inc., Luisi’s longtime agency, though he will continue to be represented by former CAMI CEO Tim Fox.

Also principal conductor for the Danish National Symphony, Luisi formerly held positions with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Symphony, Dresden’s Staatskapelle and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He is Dallas’ fourth music director in more than four decades after Eduardo Mata (1977-93), Andrew Litton (1994-2006) and Jaap van Zweden (2008-18).

He returns to Dallas for Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)” with mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford from Oct. 9-11 and a Verdi program with soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, tenor Piero Pretti and bass Wenwei Zhang from Oct. 29-to Nov. 1. The orchestra will be approximately 40 — small for Barton’s huge voice.

“It’ll be a tricky thing to find that balance,” Noltemy said.

The Dallas Symphony is unsure what audience will be permitted for Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” that starts Nov. 27. She hopes to increase capacity by 25 every two weeks and reach 300-400 for the holiday season.

In between each symphonic program, Luisi will fly from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to London Heathrow and then back to Switzerland, where his final season as music director of the Zürich Opera opens with a Barrie Koskie production of Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” on Sept. 20. That company is selling 900 of its 1,100 seats and has an audio transmission system originally used when Luisi led a 2005 production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” at the floating stage of Austria’s Bregenz Opera. The orchestra, chorus and conductor will be a few hundred yards from the stage in a rehearsal room, and their performance will be transmitted to the cast on the stage and audience viewing the performance.

“That was the key in order to be able to play the program like we conceived it,” Luisi said, “It is technologically very advanced software. So there is a gap of I think one thousands of a second, so it’s barely recognizable. It’s a little bit strange. You have to get used to it.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Entertainment, AP Online Recordings News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
'It's how you finish': Serena Williams into Open semifinals
Serena Williams hit 20 aces and came back to beat Tsvetana Pironkova in three sets to get to the U.S. Open semifinals
6:12PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Dallas Symphony among 1st US orchestras to return
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra becomes among the first large U.S. classical organizations to return from the layoff caused by COVID-19 when Fabio Luisi conducts his performance performance as music director on Thursday night at the Meyerson Symphony Center
6:12PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Mission Hills familiar place in an familiar spot on schedule
Mission Hills has a familiar look to the LPGA Tour players in the California desert
6:05PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Woodward defends decision to withhold Trump's virus comments
Bob Woodward, facing widespread criticism for only now revealing President Donald Trump’s early concerns about the severity of the coronavirus, says he needed time to be sure that Trump’s private comments from February were accurate
5:30PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Oscars diversity criteria 'not about exclusion' say leaders
The new Oscars best picture inclusion standards became a trending topic on social media as soon as they were announced Tuesday night
5:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
Alec Baldwin and wife Hiliaria welcome fifth child together
It’s a party of five for Alec and Hilaria Baldwin
4:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
Appeals court agrees R&B singer R. Kelly should stay jailed
A federal appeals court says R&B singer R. Kelly can remain behind bars while he waits to face multiple trials on child pornography and other charges
5:52PM ( 1 day ago )
New this week: 'Cuties,' 'Unpregnant' and fresh 'Jeopardy!'
This week’s new entertainment releases includes the return of “Jeopardy!”
12:58PM ( 1 day ago )
Andrew Lloyd Webber warns arts 'at point of no return'
“The Phantom of the Opera” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has told British lawmakers that the arts are “at the point of no return,” and urged the government to set a date for theaters to be allowed to reopen
11:45AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Recordings News
New fire breaks out in crowded refugee camp on Greek island
Fire has again struck Greece’s notoriously overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, a day after a blaze swept through the camp and left thousands in need of emergency shelter
5:37PM ( 49 minutes ago )
No virus aid before election? Pessimism before Senate vote
Top Republicans senators are making pessimistic predictions about securing a bipartisan coronavirus relief package before the November election
5:37PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Big drop reported in vaping by US teenagers
A new federal report shows vaping rates among U.S. teenagers fell dramatically this year, especially among middle school students
5:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
'It's how you finish': Serena Williams into Open semifinals
Serena Williams hit 20 aces and came back to beat Tsvetana Pironkova in three sets to get to the U.S. Open semifinals
6:12PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Mission Hills familiar place in an familiar spot on schedule
Mission Hills has a familiar look to the LPGA Tour players in the California desert
6:05PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Steelers LB Ryan Shazier announces retirement
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has announced his retirement nearly three years after a spinal injury put his career on indefinite hold
5:45PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Official claims pressure to alter Homeland Security intel
An official at the Department of Homeland Security says he was pressured by agency leaders to make his intelligence reports reflect the priorities of the Trump administration
5:44PM ( 42 minutes ago )
The Latest: 2019 runner-up Medvedev into US Open semifinals
2019 U.S. Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev is back in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows for the second year in a row
5:38PM ( 48 minutes ago )