Japan goes ahead with year-end Beethoven 9smain
The tradition of performing Beethoven’s ninth symphony in December stretches back, as we have described here, to the beginning of the First World War and reinforced by a German-Jewish refugee at the start of the Second.
This year, despite Covid, it’s still going ahead.
Conductor Keitado Harada writes from Tokyo:
Japan’s tradition of performing Beethoven 9 in December does not stop because of this virus. During the fall there were several experiments and case studies to ensure the safety of performing choral works. For example, reducing the chorus to 4-8 singers per part and adding amplification. For halls with great acoustics, not adding a mic and reducing the string count. If the soloists are singing at the front of the stage, the first few rows of the audience are not sold.
The majority of the professional orchestras in Japan are performing the 9th. Tokyo Symphony Orchestra performances this week with Maestro Jonathan Nott are all sold out. The extra measures that the stage managers and concert hall staff are taking to ensure the safety of the musician and audience is amazing. Classical Concerts in Japan are allowed 100% capacity now. As an audience member yesterday, I felt safe sitting shoulder to shoulder in a packed Suntory Hall.