Live and in-person shows, finally

CSO audiences and musicians have been greatly socially distanced for this spring’s in-person shows.

I am one of the lucky people who has been able to see live, in-person concerts at Music Hall as organizations have begun opening up now that Covid appears to be waning.

Cincinnati is one of the first cities in the nation to welcome people back into the concert hall, albeit with plenty of Covid mitigation. I have to admit, for my first visit back to Music Hall — even before the vaccine became available to most people — I had some trepidation. But the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, as well CAA, which oversees Music Hall, have taken excellent precautions. With all of the social distancing in a 2200+ seat hall, an audience of 300 seemed pretty sparse. And with 90-minute concerts and no intermission, I barely encountered anyone at all. Just parked the car, donned a mask, saw the concert and left.

I loved this concert featuring Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde.” And how great that the orchestra made it available free for streaming a few weeks later.

Mandy Gaines

Now that the state is allowing 30% of hall capacity to be seated, it is nice to see up to 500 people. It really does make a difference, and I’m sure it does to the musicians, as well. Here’s my review of the Pops last weekend with Cincinnati treasure Mandy Gaines and that terrific singer Darius de Haas.

Melissa White made her subscription debut in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, “Strasbourg.”

And here’s my report of Louis Langrée’s Mozart festival with the CSO, the first time nearly 500 were allowed attend.

Thankfully, we have had our art museums to visit over the pandemic. Now, we can look forward to the May Festival — a slimmed-down version of that massive choral experience, of course. Read about it here.

And Cincinnati Opera will return as well, although not in Music Hall but at Summit Park, on land that was formerly the Blue Ash Airport. (Years ago, I met a relative there, who was delivering us a cello on his private plane… ) Here’s the story.

And yes, theater is returning too. Playhouse in the Park will seat reduced audiences for two productions this spring, and also offers some outdoor events. Here’s the announcement.

Cincinnati Ballet will begin moving into its new, $30.8 million home in Walnut Hills this June. (Click here to read about it.) The company has done an admiral job presenting both outdoor and indoor performances during the pandemic.

All of these organizations have had to toss out their planned seasons and re-imagine them with new productions and concert programs.

I admire CCM for putting together an imaginative performance series online. I have enjoyed myriad virtual shows over the past year. But there is nothing like experiencing a performance live and in person.

We’ve all missed all of it, terribly. I feel grateful to live in a city where arts leaders are creatively and safely reopening to allow in-person experiences.

 

 

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