Just in: Covid kills off Tannhäuser

Just in: Covid kills off Tannhäuser


norman lebrecht

September 29, 2020

A new production of Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Rouen Opera in France has been called off after two cast members caught Covid-19, according to the magazine Diapason.

The production, by Loïc Lachenal, employed a huge stage of 200 square metres to maintain safe distances among the singers and orchestra. But the virus somehow got past security and the entire expensive run has been cancelled.

We also have reports the the Opéra Comique in Paris has been shuttered again by Covid.




  • Doc Martin says:

    Folk who run opera houses need to read Nick Wilson’s editorial in BMJ on aerosol transmission of Sars-cov-2.

    The larynx plays a key role in its transmission. There is now evidence from a recent study in Florida of transmission up to 5m in hospital wards.

    Opera houses, concert halls and theatres will all need to revamp their ventilation-air conditioning systems for it and any other respiratory acquired virus which may arise in the near future. The virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days and it can survive on fomites up to 72 hours, so a single swab RT-PCR test is of little clinical value, you need several tests up to 14 days, a positive result can occur with someone who has recovered from cov-19 as the test cannot distinguish RNA fragments from a current and previous infection. A negative test could mean insufficient viral load during the incubation period necessitating retesting 48-72 hours later.


    • Blazing Star says:

      Yes, but what’s the point, considering it’s statistically not at all dangerous. Let’s just get on with life, now.

      • Doc Martin says:

        Wrong. The safeguads must be in place still until a vaccine has ben found safe and effective.

        You are not a clinician! It is dangerous for the elderly, immunocompromised, those in care homes and hospitals. Those who had cov-19, many have poor health afterwards, pulmonary embolism and thrombosis being a common problem.

        • Blazing Star says:

          So what if they never find a vaccine? Should we all just hide under the stairs with our face nappies until we die of hunger?

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    All you have to do with this opera is listen to the 12 minute overture and (like a Broadway musical) you’ve heard ALL the best bits. It really is a snoozer sitting through the whole thing

    • Gaffer says:

      Yup, Wagner is like the Curate’s egg good in parts.
      Actually the posher tarted up Tannhauser overture is 15 mins, at least that’s the concert version, yes apart from that, the bit of chorus in Act 2, and Wolfram’s wee song at the end, the rest is just boring packing

  • Doc Martin says:

    Private Eye have an interesting podcast on page 94, where Phil Hammond aka MD discusses the disaster of Public Health England coping with the cov-19 pandemic and its subsequent name change. Blame Andrew Lansley the worst Health Secretary ever.

    The lights are going out in opera houses all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time