Singapore orchestras adapt to the COVID-19 normal

Posted on: October 1, 2021

“The air was charged with more than just emotion when the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) staged its first wind concert in months last Saturday,” writes Toh Wen Li in Wednesday’s (9/29) Straits Times (Singapore). “High-tech devices … attached to … plants in front of the stage created an ‘ionising curtain’ between the performers and audience … designed to reduce the spread of Covid-19…. This pulls positively charged aerosols, droplets and particulate matter towards … the plants. The devices were introduced following a six-month collaboration between the orchestra and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research…. Since the pandemic, orchestras in Singapore have had to reckon with capacity restrictions. Currently, up to 50 performers and crew members are allowed on stage and backstage, of which 20 performers may be unmasked at any time. Before Aug 10, live performances involving singing and playing of wind and brass instruments were suspended…. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) this month launched a digital concert hall called SSOLounge, where people pay for a 12-month pass ($30) that will grant them access to new releases and archival material…. Despite the resumption of live concerts—SSO, for instance, did so last November—life has not returned to normal for orchestras.”