Feature: Pilot live concert in Lion City comes back to life amid COVID-19
SINGAPORE, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Melodies of classic music filled the Victoria Concert Hall Thursday evening, in front of an intoxicated audience for the first time in six months.
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) was presenting a concert of chamber music for an audience of 50 at the hall, which featured Joseph Haydn's string quartet Emperor and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's string sextet Souvenir de Florence.
The concert is part of a handful of small-scale live performances that will be taking place this month in a pilot scheme by the country's National Arts Council (NAC) with safe management measures.
Ten musicians and one emcee went on stage Thursday evening, while NAC sets a 30-person limit on the number of cast and crew involved in this pilot scheme.
On the other hand, only 50 audience were allowed entry into the concert hall, which can cater to a total 673 visitors. At the entrance, they registered through a TraceTogether app, designed to make it easier for the government to find out close contacts if a COVID-19 case is to be confirmed somewhere.
The audience members can also collect a newly-distributed TraceTogether tokens with a similar function at the venue.
All the front four lines of seats were made unavailable for the audience, so as to ensure a three-meter spacing between performers and audience, who both wore masks at all times.
The audiences were kept at least two seats apart from each other and there was no intermission during the concert. The listeners were also given guided exit out of the hall in groups so as to avoid congestion.
Mr. Felix of the Spanish nationality was happy to be back to the concert hall.
He said he used to come regularly to enjoy the SSO concerts before the COVID-19 pandemic. He had wanted to buy two tickets for his wife and himself this time, but only succeeded in getting one.
Cello player Yu Jing, in a small conversation with the emcee, also expressed her excitement of joining in the live performance, the first of its kind for the SSO since March, saying that they missed the audience very much.
Chng Hak-Peng, CEO of the Singapore Symphony Group said the orchestra is very honored to be entrusted to be part of the live performance pilots with audience.
"It is a testimony to our efforts to keep our audiences, musicians, and crew safe during this pandemic," he said.
According to Chng, the SSO presented two safe-distanced concerts in March, one at Victoria Concert Hall and one, dedicated to Singapore's front-line workers, at Gardens by the Bay.
These were the last live concerts before arts venues closed to the public at the end of March this year to contain the spread of COVID-19.
While Singapore is currently at the second-stage of a phased resumption of economic activities, the government is gradually and cautiously easing COVID-19 restrictive measures.
For two consecutive days, the city state has recorded no community cases of infection on Thursday, when total confirmed cases rose to 57,849. The government has said they will roll out plans of the third and final stage of reopening in weeks.
Among local musical institutions, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra presented a live concert with around 20 performers and 50 audience members on Sept. 11.
While the SSO is contributing to NAC's pilot programs and awaiting for the latter's further determination, next week it will be announcing its digital concerts from November to January next year.
As the national orchestra, "SSO is committed to bringing memorable experiences to our audiences, and we will do so with safety and public health considerations in mind," Chng Hak-Peng added. Enditem