- Title: Emptied German concert halls throw open their digital doors
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (MARCH 11, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF CLOSED BERLIN PHILHARMONIC BUILDING SIGN ON THE DOOR INFORMING OF DAILY TOUR CANCELLATIONS FROM MARCH 11 TO APRIL 19
- Keywords: Berlin Berlin philharmonic Elbphilarmonie Germany Philharmonie Berlin concert halls coronavirus coronavirus Berlin coronavirus Germany coronavirus outbreak
- Reuters ID: LVA002C4VZD53
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Duration: 00:00:20
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Health/Medicine
- Story Text:Bans on mass gatherings introduced to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic might have been expected to deal a death blow to musical life, but instead led to a boom in free online concerts as audience less musicians step up to the plate.
One such was Russian-German star Igor Levit, who took to twitter on Thursday evening to stream an impromptu rendition of Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata Op. 53 from his Berlin flat to entertain audiences penned at home by the virus.
Across Europe and the world, authorities are shuttering schools, museums, night clubs and concert halls in an attempt to prevent the kind of close physical contact that fosters the transmission of an infection that has claimed over 4,000 lives.
"It's a sad time, it's a weird time, but acting is better than doing nothing," he told viewers of his stream, before sitting down at his Steinway to trill the piece's swooping opening bars. "Let's bring the house concert into the 21st century!"
Across Germany, opera houses and concert halls had the same idea. Berlin's Staatsoper, rather than calling off a performance of George Bizet's Carmen, opted to stream the story of the bewitching gypsy girl online for audiences worldwide.
Moments after that finished, the baton passed across town to conductor Simon Rattle who led the Berlin Philharmonic in a performance of Luciano Berio's Sinfonia and Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.
"The Philharmonic Berlin will be closed until 19 April - as a measure to counteract the spread of the coronavirus," the orchestra wrote, adding that they had decided to give their concert anyway, "without an audience."
Nor was the generosity confined to the high-brow: earlier this week posh English crooner James Blunt's concert in Hamburg's empty Elbphilharmonie also took place before an invisible audience of millions.
After Levit's 25-minute concert was retweeted 1,500 times and garnered almost 6,000 likes, he seemed to have acquired a taste for the new genre.
"Overwhelmed. Thank you. See you tomorrow, same time. 7 pm CET," he tweeted.
(Production: Swantje Stein, Barbara Woolsey
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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