Festival scraps premiere after last-minute Covid test

Festival scraps premiere after last-minute Covid test


norman lebrecht

August 17, 2021

The Bregenz Festival cancelled last night’s premiere of Brigitte Fassbaender’s production of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri after one ensemble member turned in a positive Covid test.

It is understood that the person concerned had been double-vaccinated.

All four performances of the opera have been called off.

Festival director Elisabeth Sobotka called the decision ‘very painful’.



  • John Borstlap says:

    Also after double vaccination one can get infected, but one don’t get (very) ill and the chance of transmission appears to be practically nil. If the other members of the ensemble were also double-vaccinated, there was no reason to cancel the performance. The lack of clarity about these things creates anxiety and confusion all around.

    • A concerned party says:

      “…the chance of transmission appears to be practically nil.”

      Not so, according to the CDC director:

      Please do not contribute to the “lack of clarity” on these things!

    • Petros Linardos says:

      “the CDC released data in July that showed vaccinated people also can transmit Delta”

      We don’t have enough information to judge their choices.

    • Karl says:

      Vaccinated people have high levels of covid in the nasal passages when infected and can spread the virus.

      Study: Vaccinated People Can Carry as Much Virus as Others

    • Monsoon says:

      The issue is that the person who tested positive has to quarantine until they test negative so they don’t spread COVID — and it’s not just about spreading it with other members of the production company, but everyone who they may interact with in their everyday life. It’s not like they’re in a “bubble” like sports leagues have been doing with players. And not only does the infected person have the drop out of the performance, but so does everyone who they came into close contact with.

      Further, let’s think about the legal liability and PR optics. If a performer with COVID is knowingly allowed to perform, and COVID then spreads throughout the company, it will look like they willingly created a super spreader event. And if someone does by chance become ill despite being vaccinated, then there could be legal consequences.

    • Saxon says:

      Bore-slap writes: “the chance of transmission appears to be practically nil”

      A vaccinated person transmits the virus in exactly the same way as someone who is not vaccinated. If you have Covid then you are likely to spread it to anyone you interact with: whether you are they have been vaccinated does not affect this.

  • George says:

    If this goes on there may never be any more big performances or tours or festivals. What more can we do than get vaccinated? Still not enough??? How depressing.

    • Monsoon says:

      I think the turning point will be when children can be vaccinated. At that point, vaccinated parents won’t have to worry about catching COVID at work and passing it to their unvaccinated kids at home.

    • Westfan says:

      It would help to stay masked as well, as much as possible, in public places. This would also reduce transmission. Vaccinated folks can easily transmit to others, even if they have no symptoms.

    • Saxon says:

      We are just going to have to learn to live with the virus, and accept that sometimes people will catch it. People who have been vaccinated, and people who have previously had the virus and recovered, will mostly not get seriously ill.

  • William says:

    One positive? Entire production cancelled? Absurd!

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    The danger is not the virus, it’s the illogical hysteria surrounding it, which only appears to have got worse since the arrival of the so-called vaccines. It’s almost as if we are being prevented from getting through it.

  • Brian says:

    They are destroying themselves over a test result. Tragic.

  • Alexander Graham Cracker says:

    For the foreseeable future and maybe beyond, there will always be someone somewhere capable of testing positive for COVID. There is no end game if zero tolerance is the goal.

    • Saxon says:

      Yes, we will have to learn to accept the virus is out there, it is not going away, and we will have to find a way to continue our lives with it being around. Staying locked-down forever is not a solution.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Norman, Norman, Norman … it’s Brigitte FASSBAENDER