Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra gets ready to launch new season with COVID-19 precautions

Audiences will soon be able to hear the sound of music inside the Centennial Concert Hall for the first time in months, when the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra launches its revamped 2020-21 season on Friday and Saturday.

Reduced seating and new health and safety protocols have been introduced in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That includes closing off every second row, and seating groups (or cohorts of audience members) three seats apart. 

The first five rows in front of the stage have also been closed off to allow distance between the audience and the musicians.

Extra Friday concerts have been scheduled for some concerts in the upcoming season to accommodate current ticket holders.

Masks will be mandatory for everyone inside the concert hall and staff will disinfect the seats between performances. 

Audience members attending the opening performances this Friday and Saturday will also be assigned times that they can enter the concert hall, and will be assigned to colour-coded doors for entry, based on where their seats are located. 

The new season begins where the WSO left off in March, with its celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The orchestra will perform two pieces by Beethoven — his Symphony No. 7 and Egmont Overture — as well as J.S. Bach’s Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra.

The posted schedule for concerts and performers could change without notice, due to the pandemic, the WSO advised. Pre-concert activities have been cancelled, and the 90-minute performance this weekend won’t include an intermission.

People who had tickets for concerts that were cancelled last season will be given credits for this season or next season. Season ticket holders will receive tickets to rescheduled concerts, although seats will most likely need to change to meet physical distancing requirements.

More information on the upcoming season and health and safety measures are available on the WSO website

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