French tenor cancels Berlin debut over Covid policy

French tenor cancels Berlin debut over Covid policy


norman lebrecht

November 09, 2021

Message from the independent-minded Cyrille Dubois:
Given the establishment of a disproportionate testing policy at the Staatsoper de Berlin, (2 pcr tests for 3 days on-site PLUS full vaccination status), I regret to cancel my participation in the 20th anniversary concert of the D Astrea concert in Berlin this Monday. I was looking forward to making my debut in this city, but we can’t continue to condone unilateral measures from certain houses that go beyond the general framework prescribed by scientific institutions.

Let me remind you that a positive or “sick” artist does not get paid and we have had 2 years of continuous test results (more than 50 years as far as I’m concerned) => stress, precariousness, often limited solidarity… in addition to the warning of phoniatrics who are concerned about the multiplication of invasive gestures on our ORL spheres… endangering our instruments until eternity….

Let’s not relive another winter of psychosis.

Compte tenu de la mise en place d’une politique de tests disproportionnée au Staatsoper de Berlin, (2 tests pcr pour 3 jours sur place EN PLUS du statut vaccinal complet), j’ai le regret d’annuler ma participation au concert anniversaire des 20 ans du concert d’Astrée à Berlin ce lundi. Je me réjouissais de faire mes débuts dans cette ville, mais nous ne pouvons pas continuer à cautionner des mesures unilatérales de certaines maisons qui dépassent le cadre général prescrit par les instances scientifiques.
Pour rappel un artiste positif ou “malade” ne touche pas son salaire et nous sommes depuis 2 ans sous le joug des résultats de tests continuels (plus d’une 50aine en ce qui me concerne) => stress, précarité, solidarité souvent limitée… en plus de la mise en garde de phoniatres qui s’inquiètent de la multiplication de gestes invasifs sur nos sphères ORL… mettant en danger jusqu’à la pérennité de nos instruments….
Ne revivons pas encore un hiver de psychose.


  • La plus belle voix says:

    Perhaps the Staatsoper in Munich will take him?

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    ” in addition to the warning of phoniatrics who are concerned about the multiplication of invasive gestures on our ORL spheres… endangering our instruments until eternity….”


    • La plus belle voix says:

      Otorhinolaryngology (ORL) to us mere mortals. Roughly translated, he is getting increasingly p*ss*d off about having a stick stuck up his nose whenever called upon to sing and fears his vocal health.

      Pity if he continues to cancel, as he is part of a rare breed, a light, lyric tenor. His Bizet is commendable.

  • Bonetti Micaela says:

    Cher Cyrille,
    Bravo pour votre honnêteté et votre courage !
    Chantez, en nous enchantent avec votre présence, votre musicalité, votre splendide voix, là où nous aurons le bonheur de vous écouter dans quelque pays moins frileux, moins rigide!

    • Brettermeier says:

      “Bravo pour votre honnêteté et votre courage !”

      Peut-être c’est “honnête” d’écrier “JE SUIS STUPIDE”. Mais je sais pas où tu vois “courage”…?

      (And to all of you who think: “Wow, that’s some astonishingly bad French!”, I have to say two things. 1.: It’s all mine, thank you very much. And 2.: I watched a video on youtube, so I guess YOUR French just sucks. Take that, French people. 😉 )

      • Micaela Bonetti says:

        Mr Brettermeier,
        I see courage in the fact to have a personal opinion on (any) a subject and to freely express it.

        • Brettermeier says:

          There’s a difference between opinions and facts. But sure, let’s test your go-to model, shall we. 2+2=5. Now, let’s celebrate my courage! You have the choice now to embrace nonsense or be a hypocrite. Congrats.

  • Alexander says:

    as I said before swine flu vac helped to grow bird’s brains, so there is no much astonishing in certain CEOs behavior …. The situation is considered to be continued til mid-23 , so Madame Fully Vaccinated and some other chicksters can celebrate at Vienna Ball . After 2023 all others will have their time 😉

  • James says:

    Independent minded? It’s clear he’s full of conspiracy theories, such as his scare quotes around the word sick. I’m sure his colleagues in Berlin will be thrilled that him and his Facebook fueled conspiratorial thinking won’t be there.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Anyone who opposes the fact-light MSM BS is a conspiracy theorist, are they? Apart from anything else, why should anyone need two negative test results for a three-day stay in addition to their full vaccine status? It makes no sense.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      I never knew that “independent minded” means the same as “stupid”. But apparently it does. And extensive testing a month ago does not mean that someone is free of infection today.

  • Mystic Chord says:

    ‘Let’s not relive a winter of psychosis yet’ – Excellent plan Cyrille, let’s stop testing and vaccinating to relive another winter of COVID!

    You complain about not getting paid and now complain about the paid work. How awful for you that the Staatsoper wanted to keep your colleagues safe. Good luck with that.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Don’t forget there was widespread testing and psychosis last year and it didn’t stop CV. We need to live with the virus which, as all statistics show, is pretty much harmless for the vast majority of healthy, working-age people. Those are the facts.

      • Emil says:

        Fortunately, countries are only composed of “healthy, working-age people.”
        Take that, 262 British people reported dead from COVID yesterday alone (1160 in the last 7 days).

        (Other problem is, it’s not true – Slipped Disc itself reported on healthy, young, working opera singers with presumably excellent lungs landing on ventilators with COVID)

        • anon says:

          When you say “262 British people reported dead from COVID yesterday alone”, you mean 262 British people who died of any cause within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.

          Under that methodology, if I tested positive and got run over by a bus within 28 days, I would be described as a “COVID death”. If I got admitted to hospital with a heart attack, tested positive for COVID-19 (UK hospitals test just about everyone admitted as inpatient), and die soon afterwards, I would be described as a “COVID death”.

      • Mystic Chord says:

        You appear to be receiving your ‘facts’ from a very specialist source if you believe this to be true Anthony – COVID has affected great numbers of healthy, working-age people. And what if it did target just the sick and infirm? Do these people not deserve a better chance to live or are they just collateral damage for you?

        • anon says:

          By that logic, we should reduce the speed limit everywhere to 5mph, to eliminate all those tragic deaths from road traffic accidents. Maybe ban driving private cars completely. People have no right to travel any faster if so doing puts other lives at risk, right? Or we could figure out a concept of “acceptable risk”, and live worthwhile lives.

          • Emil says:

            “Or we could figure out a concept of “acceptable risk”, and live worthwhile lives.”

            What do you think performing opera while testing regularly is, if not a concept of “acceptable risk”? That is literally what testing is about – minimising risks to an acceptable level.

  • Emil says:

    He doesn’t want to have to cancel out of illness and fears for the health of his vocal cords?
    I know of a disease that will force him to cancel without getting paid, and which could have disastrous effects on the “health of his instrument.”
    Now, if only there were some procedures which could minimise the risks of such disease. Some widespread preventive testing regimen, say…

    (also: 50 tests in a year and a half is not a lot for someone who travels and works in crowded spaces on a regular basis; that’s 2,5 tests a month! There was a time when I’d have to take 3 tests in 10 days to enter the UK, and I was quarantining at home without meeting anyone.)

  • Emil says:

    It’s a shame, though. I was just looking up his concert diary this morning, hoping to catch one of his performances soon. Guess I shouldn’t book tickets to see him anytime soon, in case he objects to another theatre taking reasonable protections to protect its staff.

  • ken says:

    Get your shots, folks !

    • Gus says:

      Get your shots, folks !

      Get myocarditis, blood clots, Guillaine-Barre Syndrome, death !

      • Edoardo says:

        There is no drugs or treatment without possible side effects. It is evident you never took care of reading the leaflet coming with medicine. If you would have done so, you would have stopped taking any medicine long time ago…

        • anon says:

          Edoardo appears not to have heard of the “risk-benefit ratio”. That is where you weigh up the risks from a given medical intervention against the benefits, and decide whether the intervention is worth the risk. Since the end of World War 2, it has been recognised that the patient should have the right to make this decision without coercion, and that the medical profession is responsible for ensuring that the patient is well informed on the risks and benefits. For any new treatment, one has to consider that there will be unknown side-effects that may not become evident for several years.

          Many people have weighed up the risks and benefits and decided, rightly or wrongly, that the current COVID-19 vaccinations are not worth the risk.

      • gioconda says:

        Try the virus and take your chances!!
        Or if singers are so concerned about testing and what it does to their voice – they might try long Covid, too

    • Karl says:

      Plenty of people who have had their shots are getting covid.

  • Nicholas Ennos says:

    How can artists seeking truth support the fake plandemic, fraudulent PCR tests and lethal injections?

    • La plus belle voix says:

      What’s a plandemic Nicholas? Something not going according to pan I guess. At least spell it right if you are going to indulge in posting misinformation.

      • Brettermeier says:

        “What’s a plandemic”

        That’s tinfoil funny for “planned pandemic” that’s also fake. But nonetheless, they’re blaming China for releasing the virus. The fake one, I guess? Anyway, it all makes sense if you don’t think about it.

        Ugh, I hate people.

      • BRUCEB says:

        Careful, you’re feeding a troll…

    • True North says:

      And Jane Austen’s works were all written by someone else, and several famous historical sopranos were actually castrati in disguise, right?

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      He’s not supporting it, that’s the point.

    • V. Lind says:

      ALL those deaths, all around the world, were based on what — an international (fill in the blanks) conspiracy?

  • Lausitzer says:

    Same comment here than in the meantime already made under the Munich article: This is just unsustainable.

    Labs in Germany usually charge 128 Euros for a PCR test. And his statement reads as if Staatsoper Berlin tests everyone every two days or so. I leave it to someone else to calculate how long it takes them to shell out a million this way. And again. And again.

    But there is also a much more serious problem: They’re eating up lab capacity urgently needed for outbreak containment. Some local health authorities in the region have already capitulated. When a pupil catches Covid they record the case and no further action will be taken. No attempts to quarantine the close contacts of that pupil anymore. Why? Not only because it are just too much cases now, also because they meanwhile get the results from the labs only after days when everything has already happened anyway.

    Thus I can only applaud his cancellation, because it sheds light on what Staatsoper Berlin is doing. If less than this would be too unsave now (which unfortunately indeed seems to be the case) it would be better if they refrain from such attempts to force through what should be avoided at the moment. This kind of “the show must go on” smacks a bit too much like bread and games.

    • Emil says:

      I can find a PCR in Berlin for 99€ – and that is for an individual who does not have a business or bulk contract with a provider. Now, balance the cost of swabbing everyone in the house every three days with the cost of cancelling three performances (like the Bayerische Staatsoper just did), and the math checks out, easily.

  • Harpist says:

    Good riddance, yet another singer, who thinks measures to protect him, his colleagues and the people who want to listen to him are a burden. Has he an overview of the scientific literature? Never heard of him anyway and now I will make an effort to never do. I have enough of these people, may he rot where ever he wants to sing but don’t come here either.

  • Harpist says:

    He should learn anatomy, the Larynx is in another area than the nasopharynx. yes, the whole skull makes for the timbre and resonance but getting a swab in the nose. Are you kidding me?

  • MacroV says:

    I generally have little tolerance for people resisting COVID measures, but I can appreciate not wanting to constantly not having a swab stuck up his nose, if he has been fully vaccinated. Although in my last test they just swabbed the nostril; they didn’t stick it all the way back to my brain.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Good for him. Bravo. Lovely bloke, too.

  • Jonathon says:

    Wise words from a distinguised colleague of Cyrille Dubois on his facebook page…… ‘si je devais aller à l’étranger et qu’on me demandait un test aujourd’hui, je le ferai. Par respect pour les règles du pays qui m’accueille malgré la fragilité de la situation, pour faire un boulot qu’un autre artiste local pourrait vraisemblablement faire à ma place.
    Je n’ai pas envie, (qui en aurait envie d’ailleurs ?) de me retrouver dans la même situation que l’automne dernier — pas besoin d’en rappeler les détails ici — alors je suis les règles, même si je ne les comprends pas toujours, même si leur légitimité m’interroge.’

    ‘if I were to go overseas and be asked to test today I would. Out of respect for the rules of the country that welcomes me in spite of the fragility of the situation, to do a job that another local artist could probably do in my place.
    I don’t feel like it, (who wants it anyway? ) to find myself in the same situation as last autumn — no need to go into details here — so I follow the rules, even if I don’t always understand them, even if I question their legitimacy.

    • anon says:

      The flaw in this argument is that it assumes that all the “local” German singers are content with this testing regimen (i.e. a “when in Rome…” situation). But what if those “local” singers were complying only begrudgingly, and felt powerless to complain because they felt they could not afford to lose the employment opportunity? I suspect many Staatsoper singers (whether principals or in the chorus) will be quietly grateful that someone has the courage to complain publicly about the situation.

  • Affreux Jojo says:

    The Bourla crowd is out there to shut the dissenter off
    Another thread wondered about collaboration 70 years ago
    How about today’s!!!

  • Edoardo says:

    ‘Let’s not relive another winter of psychosis.” I do not believe the >30.000 case per day in Germany are due to a “winter psychosis”. If one does not want to be tested for themselves, fine. But then they should test not to endanger other people.

    • anon says:

      30k cases per day, but how many of them are symptomatic? How many are infectious (rather than “still testing positive weeks/months later, when no longer infectious”)? How many are hospitalised due to COVID-19 (and not hospitalised for something else and testing positive for COVID-19)?

      And how many people are being tested per day in Germany despite having no symptoms? No test is perfect, so if you are testing whole populations indiscriminately, of course you will have lots of false positives.

  • Mike Hunt says:

    Finally some cojones. Men, you must learn from this.

  • John Russell says:

    M. Dubois:
    It’s SUCH an imposition for you!

    Singers have a difficult art-form to master and sustain; no doubt about it, but,
    You know what an imposition is??
    DYING; suffocating.
    Or causing someone else to die, because you’re an asymptomatic virus-carrier.
    Vaccine; testing; masks; distance; washing. We all hate it BUT, we must do it. And most of us DO.

    Ok, you made your choice not to participate, but don’t blame the opera companies for wanting to protect their members and audiences! Just take care of YOUR business. Quietly.
    No need to trumpet your opinions (unscientific).

    Singers are rarely known for their razor-sharp brains, outside their chosen field.
    You flatter yourself, sir.

  • Knowing Clam says:

    I am sure he wasn’t missed at all.

  • Michael P McGrath says:

    Oh my word, what a sensitive, precious soul – and he can obviously afford to walk out on Barenboim. Who is supposed to be suffering from a psychosis?

  • mark says:

    Don’t blame him , 2 PCR tests for 3 days? Exaggerated nonsense