Rio municipal theater lights up to offer virtual shows

·1-min read
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rio de Janeiro

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Rio's municipal theater, shut down over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is launching virtual shows, and its musicians and dancers are practicing both their skills and social distancing as they rehearse.

The artists' return to the theater is limited and only for rehearsals and recording of concerts.

Theater is one of the last sectors to come back in Brazil because of the challenges of social distancing for artists on stage, for crews backstage, and audiences in cramped seating in old buildings.

With the musicians separated by plastic partitions and ballet dancers appropriately spaced, the company is lighting up the ornate theater after months of darkness. Despite the restrictions, musicians and dancers are happy to return to the stage.

"No matter how much your flame is lit, there comes a time when it diminishes, and we feel that a little bit," said theater symphony orchestra musician Gilmar Ferreira.

"So this virtual concert that we are preparing ignited that flame again," he added. "Musicians and artists need it. The artist needs to be on the stage; we have that need."

Rio's theater inaugurated its concert season on May 7 with the symphony orchestra string ensemble performing works of George Frideric Handel, Peter Warlock, and Edward Elgar.

"To step on the stage of the municipal theater is a feeling of freedom. We are few here, but for us, it is enough," said student ballet dancer Mariana Fialho.

(Reporting by Sebastian Rocandio and Liamar Ramos; Editing by Dan Grebler, Alexandra Hudson)

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