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The continued prevalence of the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the season schedules of performing arts groups and venues, including the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, the San Antonio Symphony, and the Majestic and Empire Theatres.
On Tuesday, the Symphony announced the cancellation of all concert performances through Jan. 31, 2021, and furloughed five employees.
The orchestra had been looking forward to its season opener Sept. 25-26 centered on Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 conducted by Jeffrey Kahane. Other lost concerts through the fall and into January would have featured guest conductors Carlos Miguel Prieto, Matthew Halls, Michael Christie, Paulo Bortolameolli, Pablo Rus Broseta, and Jessica Cottis.
Outgoing Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing was to have transitioned into his new Emeritus role with a string of symphonies beginning with Don Quixote scheduled for January 29-30.
Presumably, the season would restart Feb. 5 with the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 conducted by David Danzmayr, but in the Symphony’s announcement, Executive Director Corey Cowart acknowledged this is only a guess.
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“We will match our return to the stage with the health and healing of our community, and right now our best prediction is in late winter,” he said.
A patron survey guided the decision to cancel, with less than 30 percent of the Symphony audience comfortable with returning to live concerts in the fall.
Those looking to fulfill their Symphony fix can listen to past performances broadcast on TPR Classical radio each Saturday evening at 7 p.m. through Aug. 29.
The Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony have stayed busy with creating virtual performances, collected on their YouTube channel. The latest is Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, referred to as the “Resurrection” symphony, which was performed as the 80th anniversary season opener in 2019.
Ticket holders for canceled performances have several options, including holding on to tickets for concerts in case they are rescheduled, receiving a flexible ticket credit for future performances, requesting a refund, or donating tickets back to the Symphony, an option given to season ticket holders for canceled performances of 2019-2020 season.
“We were very fortunate that the vast majority donated the value of their tickets to help us through this challenging time,” said Jenna Jernigan, the Symphony’s marketing manager.
The Majestic and Empire Theatres also are struggling with cancellations and postponements. On July 9, Broadway in San Antonio sent a message to season subscribers with updates on rescheduled performances at the Majestic, including My Fair Lady, previously scheduled for Sept. 22-27 and now set for September 2021. Jesus Christ Superstar, previously scheduled for Dec. 1-6, is now scheduled to run in late July 2021.
A December performance of Disney’s The Lion King has been added to the season, with performances slated for Dec. 17- Jan. 10. Other previously scheduled Broadway in San Antonio events, including Tootsie and To Kill A Mockingbird, remain on the 2021 schedule.
Regarding other events at the two theaters, a message dated June 4 still greets visitors to the Majestic and Empire Theatres website, explaining the difficulty of rebooking postponed and canceled events that tour throughout the country.
Summer cancellations continue with the Ali Wong: The Milk & Money Tour, scheduled for Aug. 15, and Juanes: Mas Futuro Que Pasado, scheduled for Sept. 29. As of now, the calendar shows the season continuing with an Oct. 3 performance of Mexican comedians Knockout de Risas, followed by the Alamo City Jazz Series Oct. 11 and Nov. 22.