Manhattan’s Metropolitan Opera, the largest classical music organization in the country, will remain shuttered until at least next fall as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We regret to inform you that we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020–21 season, based on the advice of health officials,” the Met tweeted Wednesday just after noon. “However, we are pleased to be able to announce the Met’s 2021–22 season, which will open Sep. 27, 2021.”
It will reopen next year with its first ever opera by a black composer, Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” said Peter Gelb, the Met Opera’s general manager, in a video announcement.
“Because of the many hundreds of performers who are required to rehearse and perform in close quarters and because of the company’s large audience, it was determined that it would not be safe for the Met to resume until a vaccine is widely in use, herd immunity is established, and the wearing of masks and social distancing is no longer a medical requirement,” the Met further specified in a press release. “Health officials have said this will likely take at least five to six months after a vaccine is initially made available. We want nothing more than to get back to creating operatic magic as only the Met can, but the safety of our company and the audience we serve must come first.”
In the meantime, the 137-year-old institution will continue its free, social-distance-friendly Nightly Opera Streams program.
Tickets purchased for the 2020-21 season will be automatically credited to buyers’ Met Opera accounts. Buyers also have the option of donating their credit or requesting refunds.
The decision to remain closed through late next year will likely influence other entertainment venues across the nation, and signals that many cultural institutions will remain shuttered for the foreseeable future.
Soon after the coronavirus began causing global fallout in March, the Met furloughed nearly 20% of its staff before suspending the employment of its musicians and chorus. At the time, a Met spokesperson told The Post that the employees would still receive health benefits and would get their jobs back once rehearsals resumed for performances this month. Since those have been canceled, no updates on the workers’ benefits or salary status have been made publicly.