This is Signore Conte’s reply to Muti’s request to keep opera houses and concert halls open:
Dear Maestro Muti , I respond to your heartfelt appeal … and I take the opportunity to share some considerations with you and with the readers. Your reflections touch me deeply, and I do not think they have left readers indifferent. You are right: the decision to close concert halls and theaters is objectively “serious”. Concerts, theatrical performances are food for the spirit, food for the soul. It was a particularly painful decision precisely because it was serious. We were forced to take it because the primary objective must now be to regain control of the epidemiological curve and prevent its continuous rise from compromising the efficiency of our health system and, with it, the stability of the entire social and economic system.
It is a decision that we did not take lightly because we are aware that all the protagonists of the entertainment world – artists, musicians, authors, entrepreneurs, technicians, workers – have been suffering enormous difficulties for many months now. The same security protocols, if on the one hand offer greater guarantees of preventing contagion, on the other hand they severely limit the presence of the public, contributing to the general impoverishment of this as well as other sectors of activity. The gestation of the latter was particularly painful also because I signed the document only when we were sure, after the verifications made at the Ministry of Economy and with the State General Accounting Office, to be able to approve, in the Council of Ministers to be held this afternoon, a decree- law that will allow the provision of immediate refreshments and support measures to economic operators and workers affected by the new rules. The experience we have gained in these months of great difficulty also confirms that culture contributes to strengthening the identity of an entire people, acts as a driving force for social cohesion, creating the basis – at the same time – for a dialogue that crosses regions. and national borders, helping to grasp, in one’s own legend and in other’s, the common destiny of finitude of the human being.
The criterion that guided us was not that of indiscriminately targeting a sector considered “superfluous” compared to others. Instead, we intervened in all those sectors of activity – evening catering and related activities, fitness, entertainment – which offer opportunities for sociability, whether high or not. Sectors of activity that contribute – directly and indirectly – to generating gatherings and aggregations of people, and that generate, especially in the evening, influxes on public transport and multiply the opportunities for contagion. Similarly, to decongest traffic and contagion opportunities during the day, we have encouraged smart working and the use of distance learning in secondary schools. There is also another aspect to consider.The reduction of social occasions and moments of aggregation also involves a drastic reduction in the number of personal contacts . This greatly facilitates, in the case of people who are positively surprised at Covid-19, the tracing operations and, therefore, lightens the current overload of work of the prevention departments. We are forced to make these further sacrifices.
But we do not intend to give up beauty, culture, music, art, cinema, theater at all. We need the nourishment that we derive from these activities and the dream capacity they arouse in us. We intend to return as soon as possible to enjoy these emotions in company, sharing the silent harmony that is established in the presence of a neighbor, even if he is unknown. Our spiritual dimension could not survive without this experience. It is in this spirit, dear Master, that we have taken on the responsibility of making such painful choices. But I assure you that, with Minister Franceschini, we are already working to get microphones, spotlights, projectors back on as soon as possible, and to ensure the conditions for an effective relaunch of all entertainment activities, trusting in commitment, energy and on everyone’s intelligence.