In another blow to New York City’s hope of a cultural revival, the Metropolitan Opera Wednesday canceled its entire season and said it won’t open for a year.
“We regret to inform you that we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020–21 season, based on the advice of health officials. However, we are pleased to be able to announce the Met’s 2021–22 season, which will open Sep. 27, 2021,” the Met said in a tweet accompanied by a video with General manager Peter Gelb.
“As you can imagine, nothing makes us sadder,” he said. “This week should have been the triumphant start of a new season.” It’s the first skipped season in the Met’s nearly 140-year history.
“We want nothing more than to get back to the business of creating operatic magic for you… But the safety of our company and of you, the loyal audience we serve, must come first. We have to wait for an effective vaccine to be widely available and that is not likely to happen until summer,” said Gelb.
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The next season will open with the Met premiere of Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Terence Blanchard, a leading African American composer and the first to to write something for the Met.
“We can’t wait to turn our ghost light off for good. But For now we need your help and support to keep it burning brightly in these months ahead,” he said — referring to the light always left onstage when the rest of a theater is dark.
The announcement was not a surprise. Broadway’s reopening is still not clear. Some productions are set for spring but no one really knows for sure.
The prolonged closures are dimming hopes for a New York City cultural revival anytime soon even as rising crime, graffiti and homelessness are often cited by an anxious Governor Andrew Cuomo as eroding quality of life. Many young people fled the city to live with family and others who could work remotely have moved outside the five boroughs. Cuomo has said he’s afraid that not enough of them may return.
At the same time, the Governor has been slow reopening the state and the city, despite a record low infection rate in the nation. He recently allowed struggling NYC restaurants to open indoor dining Sept. 30 but only at 25% capacity.
Movie theaters remain closed. Most museums opened late last month.