Just in: Sweden shuts down opera

Just in: Sweden shuts down opera


norman lebrecht

November 15, 2020

The carefree Swedes who have been running around maskless all year are suddently tightening their defences. This just in from the Royal Opera in Stockholm:

It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that we are cancelling all public activities until December 31th.
′′ This is of course a sad and heavy message. During the fall we have been able to play and we have conducted operations in a fantastic way. But even though the practice of stage art is important, it must not perish human health ′′ says CEO Birgitta Svend énn in a statement.
The background to our decision is the worrying situation in Stockholm with increased spread of infection. Under these circumstances, at the Royal Opera, we make the assessment that it will be very difficult to carry out a business….

Since you are many who contact us and wonder about your tickets, we hope you have a little extra patience as the waiting time can be a little longer than usual.

In the meantime, we refer all opera and ballet lovers to www.operanplay.se where you can stream performances and other things from the Royal Opera for free.



  • Nicholas Ennos says:

    For a scientific point of view on this, Google Professor Richard Ennos, Proessor of Genetics at Edinburgh University.

  • Maria says:

    No just the Swedes but many European houses too and with all our efforts in England, if not the UK, ENO only to open last weekend since March, never got there, and now closed again, and Opera North now cancelled everything even running into 2021. It was bound to happen that they’d catch up, but the Swedes got away with locking down as it’s a small country and has saved their population from other ailments a bit longer – perhaps saved from the evils of serious mental illness, suicide, increasing poverty and unemployment, and then downright loneliness and isolation by letting people get on with life as best they can for a bit longer. Here we have a bigger job, not as big as America, with 68 million to sort out over whole four countries of the UK, with their different rules and varied demography. There is no win-win situation with this virus, just damage limitation, as the virus has its own rules and knows nothing about Diwali or Chanukah, or Christmas. It goes where it wants.

    • Hilary says:

      Perhaps it’s too early to say but I suspect the countries with prior experience of sars and mers have (unsurprisingly) fared best, striking a reasonable balance between containing the virus and having some semblance of normality. Well done Taiwan, South Korea and Japan!

    • Firing Back says:

      Since you mixed two points – the fate of opera in the UK, and the horrors of dealing with COVID – I’ll add to the mix you created 🙂

      How about stop funding opera in the UK with public money? We’re talking HUGE amounts of money, of course. And let’s acknowledge that opera is of no interest to the public at large – a public that does not want it funded at all.

      So, let opera in the UK find its own funding – it’s a model that works elsewhere – and use the money that would normally fund opera for other uses more relevant to a badly-suffering public.

      Win win!


    • Anon says:

      Where do you get your silly conclusion that any lockdown would cause mass mental illness and suicides? Just look at New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan. Strict lockdown actually worked and stopped the pandemic much sooner there than in Europe and America. People are much happier there and big name soloists are now flying there like a bunch of horse flies. You meandering “freedom lovers” are helping to prolong the economic and health crisis! It is clear now, most Europeans and Americans would rather wait a long time for a vaccine to solve a desperate problem that they could easily concur with their own virtues, as simple as not going bar hopping…. Pathetic!

  • Guro says:

    The Royal Swedish Opera was actually closed in a similar way during spring as well. The mask is not the only symbol of how to deal correctly with a pandemic, its a myth that Sweden is a care free country in this matter.

  • Sinyet says:

    Vietnam is at the top of that list.