Misc 07/12/2020

Government will not increase the Liceu's capacity

The theatre puts pressure on after suspension of performances of 'La traviata'

Xavier Cervantes
2 min
Un assaig de 'La traviata' al Liceu.

BarcelonaThe Government will not increase the capacity of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, as requested by the executive committee of the theatre, and has conditioned this possibility to the improvement of the epidemiological indicators, as pointed out this Monday by the Secretary General of Health, Marc Ramentol, EFE reports.

Ramentol explained that the Government had reached an agreement with the Liceu to increase the capacity when it advanced to section 2 of the reopening plan, but that this solution was affected by the "sudden, early and unpredictable" change in the transmission rate, which forced to stop the change of phase. "Right now this decision to adapt the Liceu to the opening criteria is awaiting the evolution of the epidemiological indicators over the next few days," said Ramentol. Therefore, everything is pending the possibility of moving to section 2, despite the fact that initially the limit of 500 spectators was planned to be maintained until January 4, according to the plan presented in November by the Government.

Home Affairs and Culture, in favour of increasing the capacity

This very Monday, a few hours earlier, the Head of the Department of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, had said that they were working at a technical level with Procicat on the possibility of increasing the capacity limit of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, decreed within the framework of the covid-19 measures, and that the decision would be taken in the next few hours or days. In an interview this Monday with Ràdio 4, Sàmper explained that this Saturday he attended a meeting with the Liceu's executive committee, which presented "very relevant points", such as a ventilation system with "incredible" elements that make it "totally guaranteed", he said. According to Sàmper, this situation makes it possible to "rethink" the maximum of 500 spectators.

The Liceu announced this weekend that it would cancel performances of the opera La traviata from 8 December if the 500-person limit is not removed, as the theatre had planned to fill 50% of the capacity, i.e. 1,144 tickets, corresponding to phase 2 of the plan, from Monday. The 500-person limit represents just over 20% of the capacity. Even so, the evolution of the pandemic, and above all an infection rate that has increased beyond 0.90, led the Government to freeze the change of phase and to maintain the restrictions of section 1, which emphasise the reduction of mobility. Sàmper has not specified whether a possible extension of the limit from 500 to 1,000, or to 50%, at the Liceu would also be effective for other spaces such as the Tivoli Theatre, the Coliseum or L'Auditori, among others. In other words, whether the Liceu would be an exception or not.

Along the same lines as Sàmper, the Department of Culture is also studying whether the occupation of the large Catalan cultural facilities should reach 50% of capacity, states ACN. The decision would affect, as the head of the Department for Culture, Àngels Ponsa, has said, facilities such as the Liceu, L'Auditori, the TNC or the Teatre Victòria. This is how the Minister of Culture responded when asked about the Liceu management's proposal to cancel La traviata as of Tuesday if the 500-person limit set in phase 1 of the reopening plan is not removed. "The large facilities are not at 50% occupation, but in some cases at 22%. We have to correct this deviation," leaving the door open to take forward the Liceu's claim.