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Russia’s Perm Opera-Ballet Stays Open -- For One Spectator At A Time

The Opera and Ballet Theater in Perm will stage a series of performances for one spectator at a time.
The Opera and Ballet Theater in Perm will stage a series of performances for one spectator at a time.

The famed Perm Opera and Ballet Theater in Russia's Urals region plans to continue performances despite restrictions forced by the coronavirus crisis -- by allowing one lucky spectator at a time to attend.

The group said on March 20 that the current situation had led it to establish its One On One performance policy beginning at the end of this month.

"A full-fledged performance cannot take place without public participation. But what happens if at least one person is present in the auditorium?” the company said on its website.

“From the end of March, only one spectator will be able to attend performances..for whom, as the only one in the hall, artists and musicians will play," it added.

The theater said it will soon begin accepting applications "from those who would like to receive a unique opportunity to become the only spectator in the hall."

It added that one of the artists from the night's show will choose the one spectator by way of a drawing.

"In order to comply with security measures during the quarantine period, the viewer will be examined by a doctor before entering the room," it said.

Chief Director Marat Gatsalov said the project was "without precedent in the history of theater."

He stressed the importance of continuing to play to an audience, even if only one person. "In the grand scheme of things, one spectator is the same as a full house," he said.

The Perm Opera and Ballet Theater is known for its cutting-edge cultural performances. The theater has its roots in the 1870s, when it was built with donations from wealthy businessmen, with construction completed in 1880. Perm is about 1,150 kilometers east of Moscow.

Governments around the world have ordered the closing of entertainment establishments, along with sports venues, stores, restaurants, and other businesses in an effort to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has killed 11,229 people worldwide.

Russia has recorded 253 cases of the coronavirus, including three in the Perm region, and one possible death, although most governments and experts acknowledge that the actual number of infections remains difficult to determine.

With reporting by AFP
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