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    Jazz at Lincoln Center Reopens, With Four Young Players in the Spotlight

    The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra returned to indoor performance with “Wynton at 60,” a program featuring Marsalis originals and a quartet of up-and-coming trumpeters.The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra was amused as four trumpet players, all but one under the age of 30, took their position in the rehearsal room late Tuesday morning.“It’s the Young Lions!” called out the baritone saxophone player Paul Nedzela, referring to the coterie of sharp-dressed, tradition-minded bop up-and-comers who rose during the Reagan and Clinton administrations while edging jazz toward a concert art with a classical-music-style repertoire.That got a laugh.“We tried that in the ’90s,” said the bassist Carlos Henriquez.Another laugh.Soon, Wynton Marsalis, once the pride of those young lions, called the band to order from his perch in the trumpet section and the orchestra lit into “Windjammers,” a Marsalis cooker arranged to showcase the quartet of guest trumpeters, some of them students. The four swapped bars, breaks and occasionally expressions of wonderment, like they couldn’t believe they were — to borrow a title from Marsalis’s own repertoire — in this house, on this morning.The occasion: the kickoff to Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 34th concert season — and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s first indoor New York City performance since the Covid-19 shutdowns. The season will include a tribute to Chick Corea, who died in February; a celebration of the centennial of Charles Mingus; and three concerts showcasing extraordinary women singers, Dianne Reeves, Catherine Russell and Cécile McLorin Salvant.Excitement about the reopening pulsed through the band. “To look at and see our audience, and to feel that energy, I’m going to be overwhelmed,” said Ted Nash, a saxophonist and composer. “We’ve been doing all this virtual stuff, but to create together a sound field and an energy field in person, where all the sounds meld together — this is why I do this.”From left: Carlos Henriquez, Obed Calvaire and Marsalis rehearsing earlier this week.Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York TimesMarsalis was quick to say he didn’t name this weekend’s concerts — “Wynton at 60” — which celebrate his new status as a sexagenarian with a program of his originals from four decades.Still, despite a warm, even gentle demeanor, there was no doubt he was in charge, announcing the order of soloists at rehearsal, or small tweaks to the charts. But when a soloist occasionally asked how to approach a section, he replied, “Just do what you all want.” Or, “It’s you playing it.”Freedom within a structure, of course, separates Jazz at Lincoln Center from other major performing arts institutions with a repertoire. So does Marsalis’s tradition of inviting young musicians to play on its biggest stage, the Rose Theater in the Columbus Circle complex.“It shows the generations working together,” he said. “When we started the orchestra, surviving members of Duke Ellington’s orchestra played. Marcus Belgrave played with Ray Charles. Sir Roland Hanna played with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. Jerry Dodgion and Frank Wess played with Basie. They passed on a lot of the feeling of the music and its identity and meaning to us. So, this is a continuation.”Chris Crenshaw, a trombonist, composer and arranger who has been in the orchestra since 2006, said, “We have a charge to keep. We have a responsibility. There’s so many things in all traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation orally or with music.”The responsibilities that come with serving as the artistic director and public face of a major arts organization has meant that, for Marsalis, the shutdown was never truly a shutdown. He pulled out his phone and thumbed through dozens of photos of score pages for upcoming projects (a tuba concerto, a bassoon piece).Versions of the band have toured the United States and the world, taking endless Covid-19 tests and often playing music from his politically engaged “The Democracy! Suite,” which boasts song titles like “Sloganize, Patronize, Realize, Revolutionize (Black Lives Matters).” Streaming concerts, from the vault and some fresh, have abounded and will continue — this season, any concert can be streamed for a donation of $10.The work helps distract from the losses that have mounted since March 2020, including Marsalis’s musician father, Ellis, and his friend and mentor, the critic Stanley Crouch, in addition to more musicians than any institution could fully memorialize. “I tend not to dwell,” he said. “My dad, he said ‘Everybody’s losing people. And when you focus too much on yours …’” He let that thought drift away and then recalled something the pianist John Lewis once said to him. “‘To focus too much on even something negative is a form of deep ego.’”“You got to keep moving forward, keep being productive and trying to create the world you envision,” Marsalis added.The saxophonist Walter Blanding with Marsalis as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra prepared for its return to indoor performances.Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York TimesAt 60, Marsalis, who won a Pulitzer in 1997 for “Blood on the Fields,” his oratorio about slavery, sees a world in which democracy itself is imperiled, and “the intellectual class still always wants the Black man to be a fool on all levels.” His humanism, though, buoys him. “You can subvert the Constitution and make it harder for people to vote, make it more difficult for government to work,” he said. “But there’s always voices that defend the integrity of the document, which is changeable — it’s not set in stone.”He shifted quickly back to the subject upon which he has most often stirred controversy. “Music is the same. You can be glib enough to undermine the integrity of it and be successful. But there’s always just enough voices who believe in the integrity of it.”Those young trumpeters, in his estimation, count among those voices. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s mission has always focused on jazz education and advocacy, and the guest artists at “Wynton at 60” — Summer Camargo, Giveton Gelin, Tatum Greenblatt and Anthony Hervey — demonstrate the power of that outreach.Camargo caught Marsalis’s attention when her South Florida high school placed in the institution’s annual “Essentially Ellington” contest, which invites school bands to record themselves playing free Duke Ellington charts and then brings the finalists to New York City to perform. Now a Juilliard student, Camargo said she never would have attempted composition without the impetus of the contest, where, in 2018, she won awards for composing as well as for soloing.“When people ask me what was one of the best days of your life, I always go back to that moment,” she said. “Wynton took me backstage and gave me compliments and advice. He doesn’t sugarcoat it — he tells you what you need to do to get better.”Gelin, a recent Juilliard graduate who self-released his debut album, also praised Marsalis’s generosity as a mentor — and his practical advice. Visiting New York from the Bahamas during his high school years, Gelin attended a free Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra concert in Queens and afterward worked his way through the line to meet Marsalis. The next day, Gelin played for him at his home and was surprised that so famous a figure invested such energy in urging a kid to dig deeper into developing his own voice.“I spent a lot of time in the Haitian church,” Gelin said. “One of the first things Wynton said to me was to listen closely to the singers there and how their vocal qualities reflect where they’re from.”Marsalis nodded when reminded of this encounter. “Your sound will be organic when who you are doesn’t fight with who you want to be,” he said.“To create together a sound field and an energy field in person, where all the sounds meld together — this is why I do this,” said the saxophonist Ted Nash.Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York TimesOn opening night Thursday, the four up-and-comers got their shot onstage. The orchestra’s 90-minute set surveyed some of Marsalis’s most crowd-pleasing compositions, including big-band stompers, ballads and percolating curios marked by his fondness for musical onomatopoeia, with muted horns aping the buzz of bees and the keening of train whistles.The 15-member ensemble tackled “The Holy Ghost,” from Marsalis’s “Abyssinian Mass,” and he delivered a bracing, unamplified solo on a quartet treatment of Gordon Jenkins’s “Goodbye” that he dedicated “to all the people who have lost someone and didn’t get to tell them goodbye.”But the most boisterous crowd response came soon after those young trumpeters took the stage. Camargo’s gutsy opening solo brought patrons to their feet and inspired Marsalis — her hero — to muse afterward, “She ain’t playing around at all.”The four ringers’ joyous clamor brought the house down. Marsalis called their presence “a birthday present to myself,” but their performances suggested it’s not just a gift for him. More

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    Yannick Nézet-Séguin Is Now New York’s Conductor

    After facing anger during a prolonged labor dispute, the Met Opera’s music director has returned to the podium, emphasizing new work.The set for “Porgy and Bess” had been pushed to the back of the Metropolitan Opera’s stage on a recent Wednesday morning, and in front, lines of chairs and music stands had been set up. The company’s orchestra and chorus were coming together for the first time with the cast of “Eurydice” — a recent adaptation of Sarah Ruhl’s wistful play, with music by Matthew Aucoin — to run through the score in what’s known as a sitzprobe.Inside the vast and almost empty Met auditorium, Peter Gelb, the company’s general manager, typed on his laptop near the back of the theater. Ruhl was in the house; Mary Zimmerman, the director of the production, which opens on Tuesday, watched, too. Aucoin dashed around, listening for balances.At breaks, he rushed down the aisle to the pit to confer with the leader of any sitzprobe: the conductor. Here that was Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Met’s music director, who offered the ensemble bits of counsel, sometimes asking for delicacy and transparency (“more French in approach”), sometimes for lyricism (“violas and cellos, you could sing a bit more”).The orchestra flew through one breathless passage in the second act, making a gallop to the final burst. “Ecstatic and chaotic,” said Nézet-Séguin, 46, smiling from the podium. “Is this something we can do?”With the New York Philharmonic’s director a newly declared lame duck, Nézet-Séguin is entering an era as the city’s presiding conductor, the one whose artistic achievements blur into civic stature.Jingyu Lin for The New York TimesChaos has lately dominated: The pandemic shut the Met for a year and a half. During much of that period, its unionized employees — including orchestra musicians and choristers — were furloughed without pay as a stalemate over compensation cuts dragged on.But the response to the company’s return has been ecstatic. And at the center of it all — short and muscular, with close-cropped, bleached-blond hair and a taste for rehearsal athleisure — is Nézet-Séguin. Omnipresent and energetic, he has been one of the central figures in New York’s cultural re-emergence, and certainly the city’s most significant and visible classical musician at a transformative moment.Over Labor Day weekend, shortly after the Met reached a deal with its unions, he conducted Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony — the first notes the company had played together since March 2020 — in front of thousands outside the opera house. Audiences soon returned inside the theater to hear him lead a nationally telecast performance of Verdi’s Requiem, for the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11.Later that month, he began the Met’s season in earnest at the podium for Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” from 2019, the company’s first work by a Black composer. Nine days after that, he reopened Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra, of which he is also the music director, in the first of an astonishing nine dates for him at Carnegie this season. With the New York Philharmonic’s director, Jaap van Zweden, a newly declared lame duck, Nézet-Séguin is entering an era as the city’s presiding conductor, the one whose artistic achievements blur into civic stature.At the Met, he works from the ground-floor office once occupied by James Levine, who ruled the company for decades before being brought down by illness and allegations of sexual misconduct. Those troubles led Nézet-Séguin to ascend to the music directorship in 2018, two years ahead of schedule. Levine — who rarely led contemporary operas, let alone two in two months — died in March.When the Met’s unionized workforce was furloughed during the pandemic, some employees were angry that Nézet-Séguin was not earlier and louder in support.Jingyu Lin for The New York TimesThere has been a major change to the office. At the start of a recent interview there, Nézet-Séguin mimed tearing down a set of bookshelves that had blocked the view of Damrosch Park.“It feels symbolic,” he said. “It is to me. It’s about windows open and the fresh air of our repertoire and approach.”Despite the bright new light and the celebratory spirit of the past month and a half, the pandemic has been a dark period for Nézet-Séguin. During labor struggles, a music director’s position — closely connected to the players, but at the same time part of the administration — is intensely uncomfortable. There were musicians angry that Nézet-Séguin, who did not comment publicly on the negotiations until March, just after the orchestra agreed to begin accepting partial pay, was not earlier and louder in support.“It is a position that is unenviable,” Gelb said in an interview. “And one I hated to see him in. I’m used to catching fire during these disputes, and I hated to see him get it, too. I tried to keep him out of it; it was unfair for him to be in the middle of it. But I was not very good at protecting him.”The experience was unsettling for an artist whose rise to the top of his profession has been swift and sunny, and who is unused to hostility from musicians. (They tend to venerate him: “He’s the greatest conductor I’ve ever worked with,” said Harold Robinson, who is retiring as the Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal bass after 26 years.)“I didn’t know what to expect coming in,” Nézet-Séguin said of the orchestra’s first rehearsal after the furlough ended. “I said very little at the beginning. I said: ‘We lost many people. We lost members of our company. We lost people in our families, our friends.’ And the first notes were Verdi, actually. We just played it through. Let’s put all our emotions in this. And it helped.”Nézet-Séguin leading a rehearsal for the Met premiere of Matthew Aucoin and Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice.”Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan OperaDavid Krauss, the Met’s principal trumpet, said in an interview: “There was some tension in the first half of the first rehearsal back. And by the second half, it was back to business as usual.”Not exactly business as usual. The pandemic, and the calls for racial justice that flared last year, fast-tracked the Met premiere of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” giving it pride of place on one of the highest-profile opening nights in the company’s history. The piece’s success — reviews were positive, four of the eight performances sold out, and the crowds were markedly more diverse than usual — has convinced Nézet-Séguin that works representing the experience of groups often marginalized in the classical canon, including Latinos and L.G.B.T. people, should be fixtures going forward.“This is showing us what we need to do,” he said, “and confirming what I’ve been wanting from Day 1.”But one question is whether, without the burst of publicity that accompanied the Met’s belated presentation of a Black composer’s work, new operas can hold their own at the box office. (To be fair, even classics have struggled to sell in recent years.) Test cases will come: While Nézet-Séguin has his eye on little-done corners of the repertory — he mentioned Gluck, Weber’s “Der Freischütz,” Korngold’s “Die Tote Stadt” and Ponchielli’s “La Gioconda” — he has decided that if the choice is between a rarity’s revival and a contemporary piece, the latter will get priority.“It should be at the expense, maybe, of some stuff I had wanted to bring back,” he said.“I had a lot of new pieces planned in the future,” Nézet-Séguin said. “But I was maybe thinking I would do one a year, or skipping some years. And now, no.”Jingyu Lin for The New York Times“We are reassessing all the operas I am going to be conducting,” he added, “because I don’t want this to be the exception, to do ‘Eurydice’ and ‘Fire.’ For me, this should be the norm. I had a lot of new pieces planned in the future. But I was maybe thinking I would do one a year, or skipping some years. And now, no.”Aucoin, the composer of “Eurydice,” said that Nézet-Séguin is a collaborator “to a degree that’s unusual for conductors.”“In the chaotic dance scene in Act I,” he added, “there’s this techno-esque line in the background, and my idea was that it should be only in the very bottom octave, the piano’s left hand and contrabassoons. I wanted it to be a pop song heard from another room. But it wasn’t registering. And he suggested we throw some bass trombone in there, and he was right.”On an early November afternoon in Philadelphia, Nézet-Séguin and his orchestra there presented an installment in the cycle of Beethoven symphonies they are also playing at Carnegie this season.Beethoven’s Second and Eighth framed “Sermon,” a suite of arias and spoken texts about race and struggle organized and performed by the young bass-baritone Davóne Tines. At its center is the calm, luminous sorrow of “Vigil,” written by Igee Dieudonné and Tines in memory of Breonna Taylor.New music can often feel randomly scattered onto an orchestral concert, added merely to give a progressive sheen to fundamentally conservative programming. But the mournful “Sermon” felt at home among the symphonies, both complementing and in tension with them, particularly as they were played by the Philadelphians with such graceful, sweet-not-saccharine polish and élan. Old and new, life and death, coexisted and enhanced one another.“That was the idea,” Nézet-Séguin said of Tines’s piece. “Giving him the space to tell us his story. I’m not a private, private person. I like to speak with you about my art; I like to go on television and share who I am as a person. But it’s not about me becoming more famous so that people give me attention. I’m not shying away from attention, but I want it to be helping the collective. I want to be the person who can help shed light on others.”“I’m not shying away from attention, but I want it to be helping the collective. I want to be the person who can help shed light on others.”Jingyu Lin for The New York TimesAt the end of February, Nézet-Séguin will achieve another repertory milestone at the Met, bringing Verdi’s “Don Carlos” there for the first time in its original French — rather than in the more common Italian, as “Don Carlo.” A few weeks later, as part of what is intended to be an ongoing collaboration between his two American institutions — he also leads the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal — he and the Philadelphia Orchestra will give the world premiere of Kevin Puts and Greg Pierce’s opera adaptation of “The Hours” in concert, before it is staged at the Met in a future season.The rebuilding of the Met is far from over. Eleven of its orchestra’s 96 regular full-time members retired or left their jobs during the pandemic. Should all be replaced? In what order? That is for Nézet-Séguin, in large part, to decide. And the company’s financial model, which keeps forcing the need for cuts and brinkmanship with the unions, is no closer to being permanently solved.“I can’t say we’re completely behind what happened last year,” Nézet-Séguin said. “We’re not. But at least these moments — this Verdi, this ‘Fire’ and now this ‘Eurydice’ — are helping everyone focus on what matters to us and how we can function together. And making a difference. It sounds cliché, but trying to make a difference in the world.” More

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    If Remote Work Empties Downtowns, Can Theaters Fill Their Seats?

    Since the pandemic, San Francisco has embraced work-from-home policies. Now venues and concert halls are wondering if weeknight audiences are a thing of the past.SAN FRANCISCO — As live performance finally returns after the pandemic shutdown, cultural institutions are confronting a long list of unknowns.Will audiences feel safe returning to crowded theaters? Have people grown so accustomed to watching screens in their living rooms that they will not get back into the habit of attending live events? And how will the advent of work-from-home policies, which have emptied blocks of downtowns and business districts, affect weekday attendance at theaters and concert halls?Nowhere is that last question more urgent than here in San Francisco, where tech companies have led the way in embracing work-from-home policies and flexible schedules more than in almost any other city in the nation. Going to a weeknight show is no longer a matter of leaving the office and swinging by the War Memorial Opera House or the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall.“As people work from home, it is going to change our demographics,” said Matthew Shilvock, the general director of the San Francisco Opera. “It’s something that could be a threat. We’re all trying to wait and see whether there’s a surge of interest in live activity again or is there a continuation of just being at home, not coming into the city from the suburbs.”Arts groups are trying to gauge what the embrace of more flexible work-from-home policies will mean for their ability to draw audiences in a city whose housing crunch has already driven many people to settle far from downtown. Close to 70 percent of the audiences at the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Symphony — two nationally recognized symbols of this city’s vibrant network of performing arts institutions — live outside the city, according to data collected by the two organizations.“As people work from home, it is going to change our demographics,” said Matthew Shilvock, the general director of the San Francisco Opera, which presented a new production of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” this fall.Cory Weaver/San Francisco OperaSome economists see the trend of remote work persisting. “It’s likely we are going to have more people working from home than other places,” said Ted Egan, the chief economist for the city and county of San Francisco. “The tech industry seems to be the most generous for work-from-home policy, and employees are expecting that.”Twitter announced in the early months of the pandemic that it would allow almost all of its 5,200 employees, most based at its San Francisco office, to work at home permanently. At Salesforce, which has 9,000 employees, employees will only have to come to work one to three days a week; many will be allowed to work at home full time. Dropbox, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, also has adopted a permanent work-from-home policy. Facebook and Google, both of which have a significant presence in San Francisco, have implemented work-from-home policies.Egan said that the trend might pose more of a problem for the city’s bars and restaurants than for its performing arts institutions. “My suspicion is that performing arts are going to be less sensitive to working from home than other sectors,” he said. “It’s not the kind of purchase you do after work on a whim, like going for happy hour.”Attendance has been spotty as this city’s art scene climbs back. Just 50 percent of the seats were filled the other night for a performance of “The Displaced,” a “gentrification horror play” by Isaac Gómez, at the Crowded Fire Theater. “We had sold-out houses on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and much lower participation on Wednesday and Thursday night,” said Mina Morita, the artistic director. “It’s hard to tell if this is the new normal.”There were some patches of empty seats across the Davies Symphony Hall the other night, as the San Francisco Symphony presented the United States premiere of a violin concerto by Bryce Dessner, even though it was the third week of the long-delayed (and long-anticipated) first season for Esa-Pekka Salonen, its new music director. The concerto, with an energetic performance by Pekka Kuusisto, the Finnish violinist, was greeted by repeated standing ovations and glowing reviews.Attendance in October was down 11 percent compared to before the pandemic, but the symphony said advance sales were strong, suggesting normal audiences might return in spring.Twitter announced in the early months of the pandemic that it would allow almost all of its 5,200 employees, most based at its San Francisco office, to work at home permanently.Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images“The audience is back,” Salonen said in an interview before he took the stage. “Not what it was, but they are back. Some nights have been a little thinner than others. By and large, the energy is good. Our worst fears have been dispelled.”The San Francisco Opera also began its new season with a splashy new hire: a new music director, Eun Sun Kim, who in August became the first woman to hold the position at one of the nation’s largest opera companies. She conducted a new production of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” this fall that incorporated chain-link fences and flickering video screens to update the story of the liberation of a political prisoner.Even so, the opera, which can seat 2,928 with Covid restrictions, sold an average of 1,912 tickets per show for “Fidelio,” its second production of this new season. That’s better than its second production in 2019, Britten’s “Billy Budd,” a searing work that does not always attract big crowds. But it drew fewer people than the opera’s second production in 2018, “Roberto Devereux,” which sold an average of 2,116 tickets a performance.“The urgency to be bold, to be innovative, to be compelling to get audiences to come back or give us a try for the first time has never been stronger,” Shilvock said. “There will be a hunger for things that have an energy, that have a vitality, that give a reason to come into the city.”Even before the pandemic, cultural organizations were dealing with challenges that threatened to discourage patrons, including a stressed public transportation system, traffic, parking constraints and the highly visible epidemic of homelessness. And many institutions were struggling to make inroads in attracting audiences and patrons from the tech industry, which now accounts for 19 percent of the private work force.Now, facing an uncertain future as they try to emerge from the pandemic shutdown, arts organizations are embracing a variety of tactics to fill seats..css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-w739ur{margin:0 auto 5px;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-w739ur{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-9s9ecg{margin-bottom:15px;}.css-uf1ume{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}.css-wxi1cx{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-align-self:flex-end;-ms-flex-item-align:end;align-self:flex-end;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Hope Mohr, the co-director of Hope Mohr Dance, said that her organization was spending $1,400 per night to livestream performances, so audiences could choose between coming into San Francisco or watching from their living rooms.“A hybrid experience — I have to do that from now on,” she said. “My company usually performs in San Francisco, and I have audience coming from all over the bay.”These calculations are taking place in an atmosphere of uncertainty and anxiety. It is not clear how much these early attendance figures represent a realignment, or are evidence of audiences temporarily trying to balance their hunger for live performances against concerns about the spread of the Delta variant — even in a city where 75 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. Lower attendance figures have been reported by performing halls across the country.“The audience is back,” Esa-Pekka Salonen, the music director of the San Francisco Symphony, said. “Not what it was, but they are back. Some nights have been a little thinner than others. By and large the energy is good. Our worst fears have been dispelled.”Christopher M. Howard Opening nights have found performers relieved to be playing to real crowds again and audiences delighted to be back. “The convenience of at-home entertainment has made it not as desirable for some folks, ” said Ralph Remington, the director of cultural affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission. “But that being said, even though the density of the numbers isn’t as great as it was prepandemic, the audiences that are coming are really enthusiastic.”Advance sales for “The Nutcracker” at the San Francisco Ballet, with one-third of the tickets going for just $19 a seat to help bring in new patrons (the average ticket price is $136), have been moving briskly.Danielle St. Germain-Gordon, the ballet’s interim executive director, said she hoped that working from home had made people eager to break out of their increasing isolation. “I would do anything to get out,” she said. “I hope that’s a good sign for our season.”At the height of the pandemic, about 85 percent of San Francisco-based employees worked from home; that number is about 50 percent now, said Enrico Moretti, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.“I think it’s possible that people are not going to commute from Walnut Creek at night to go to downtown San Francisco for the opera to the same extent,” he said. “But I don’t expect those office buildings will sit empty. There will be other people moving into them.”The Magic Theater, a 145-seat-theater in Fort Mason, just beyond Fisherman’s Wharf, has been experimenting with different kinds of programming, such as a poetry reading, and pay-what-you-can seats to lure patrons who live — and now work — far from the theater.“This is going to be an interesting year for everyone,” said Sean San José, its artistic director. “Are people going to come back? The zeitgeist is telling us something. Maybe we should listen. This ain’t a pause. We have got to rethink it.” More

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    ‘Be Nice to Tourists’: New York’s Arts Scene Needs International Visitors

    The United States now allows vaccinated international travelers into the country. It’s welcome news for arts institutions that lost revenue and cut jobs during the pandemic.When many readers in Toronto, London, Paris and Hong Kong open their newspapers on Monday, they will be greeted with a full-page advertisement from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.“We reopened in August 2020, but have been missing one critical thing — you, our international visitors,” the ad will say. “The Met is only The Met when it is being enjoyed daily by visitors from around the world.”The unusual display — museum officials say they do not believe they have ever run a global marketing campaign of this scope aimed at visitors so far from their Fifth Avenue home — is a signal of the thirst among New York arts institutions for foreign visitors to return. American borders reopened to international tourists this week for the first time since the early months of 2020. Their return represents another milestone in New York’s reopening, and few sectors of the city’s economy are more of a draw to foreign travelers — or lean more heavily on them for revenue — than the arts.“It’s crucial that we recover this segment,” said Chris Heywood, a vice president for global communications at the city’s tourism agency, NYC & Company. “Arts and culture are going to lead our recovery. That is the backbone.”Indeed, billions of dollars and many thousands of jobs are at stake. Employment in New York City’s arts, entertainment and recreation sector plummeted by 66 percent from December 2019 to December 2020, according to a state report. Even as things reopen, and workers are hired back, challenges remain: The tourism agency forecasts that visitor spending in 2021 will be about $24 billion, roughly half of what was spent in 2019.Few sectors of the city’s economy are more of a draw to foreign travelers — or lean more heavily on them for revenue — than the arts.Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesInternational visitors typically make up about a fifth of the city’s visitors, but they tend to stay longer and spend more than domestic visitors: what they spend accounts for roughly half of all tourism dollars.On Broadway, tourists from outside the United States comprise about 15 percent of the audience during a traditional season, said Charlotte St. Martin, the president of the Broadway League. (There is a reason that the website of “The Lion King” is lined with flags indicating where to click for translations of its sales pitch in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish.)The Metropolitan Opera said that international ticket sales have accounted for about 20 percent of total box office revenues during the last five seasons. And more than half of New York’s international visitors go visit an art gallery or museum during their trip, according to data from NYC & Company. One in four go to some kind of live performance when they are in the city — be it a concert, play, musical, a dance performance or opera.So New York has been missing them.“This is a big step forward,” said Victoria Bailey, the executive director of Theater Development Fund, the nonprofit organization that operates the TKTS booth, where about 70 percent of the tickets are bought by tourists and roughly half of those sales are to foreign travelers.Groups catering to tourists from overseas are gearing up. Broadway Inbound, a subsidiary of the Shubert Organization that is responsible for the wholesale distribution of show tickets, recently restarted a marketing program that helps highlight more than 20 partnering shows to group buyers, tour operators and the travel industry.The Metropolitan Museum of Art has moved some of its marketing dollars overseas in part because the it has hit something of a “ceiling” on attendance, Ken Weine, a spokesman for museum, said. Before the pandemic, international travelers accounted for about a third of the museum’s visitors; these days, the number of people who come to the museum daily is about half of what it was before March of 2020.The newspaper ad from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that will run in Toronto, London, Paris and Hong Kong. Museum officials say they do not believe they have ever run a marketing campaign of this scope aimed at visitors so far from their Fifth Avenue home.Metropolitan Museum of ArtMusicals like “The Phantom of the Opera,” which have leveraged the interest of tourists who want to see a long-running show that they are familiar with, have purposefully invested advertising dollars during this holiday season and placed their displays in high-traffic, touristy areas. That is why there is an imposing three-dimensional statue of the Phantom’s mask strategically plopped next to the TKTS booth and outdoor advertising for “Chicago” all over Times Square.Foreign travelers have not yet begun buying tickets to “Phantom” in material numbers, said Aaron Lustbader, the general manager of the show. But officials hope that will change soon.“Typically, January and February are two of the very weakest months of the year and this has certainly been true for ‘Phantom,’” he said. “Our hope is that due to pent-up demand of nearly two years and assuming it would take most people at least a few weeks to put together plans, that the city sees a far higher number of international tourists in these otherwise lean months.”Barry Weissler, a producer of “Chicago,” said the show typically partners with online travel sites to serve ads and try to spark the interest of inbound, foreign tourists ahead of their flights to New York.And for their part, tour operators and ticket vendors overseas say they have started to see their New York business bounce back — somewhat.Eric Lang, who runs an Amsterdam-based travel and information website that helps vacationers plan trips to New York, said his ticket sales in October were up to about 5 percent of normal. This month, sales are closer to 15 to 20 percent of what he had come to expect for this period, before the pandemic. “Growth from zero,” he said.Lee Burns, a product manager for AttractionTickets.com, which sells event tickets to people and travel agents in the United Kingdom, said he thought the timing of the American reopening might have come “a bit too late” to capitalize on the 2021 holiday season. So far, he said, his company’s New York sales are at only about 10 percent of what is normal for the holiday season.“People are booking now for next Thanksgiving and next Christmas,” he said. Nonetheless, he said he and his team are trying to figure out if there is any sort of deal they can offer for this Black Friday.Those who come to New York from overseas will need to navigate and adhere to the rules and vaccine requirements set by the state, the city and individual venues.They will find that many venues and presenters, including Broadway theaters, the Met Opera, the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, will admit travelers who show proof of having received one of the vaccines approved by W.H.O. — a list that includes AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac, vaccines that have not been authorized for use in the United States.To help theatergoers prepare for their visit to “Come From Away,” the show recently released a health and safety video outlining what patrons should expect when they show up at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater. An official with Broadway Inbound said it had touched base with the creators of the video to help ensure it would be educational to both domestic and foreign visitors.Heywood, meantime, had a plea for New Yorkers already here. “Be nice to tourists,” he said. “This is important.” More

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    At the Radio City Christmas Show, Some Workers Worry About Covid Rules

    Employees must all be vaccinated, but some are upset that the upcoming show is not also testing them for the virus, as is done on Broadway and at other major performing venues.Some of the people who put on the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show are expressing concerns about the Covid-19 protocols in place for workers as the show prepares to open on Friday night.All the employees for the “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes” must be vaccinated. But other aspects of the annual Christmas pageant’s policy are not in line with those put in place by Broadway theaters, the Metropolitan Opera and some other live performance spaces across the city, according to email correspondence and a policy document reviewed by The New York Times.Unlike on Broadway, at the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Ballet, for example, the Madison Square Garden Entertainment company that produces the show and owns the theater is not requiring employees to be tested for the virus. Unions representing some of the employees of the show have raised the matter of testing to the show’s management, according to an email reviewed by The Times.Management at the Music Hall says the protocols it has in place are completely safe, were developed in conjunction with health and safety experts and have been used successfully at a roster of shows in the venue since late summer.“We believe our protocols are more than adequate to protect people in our building,” a spokeswoman for Madison Square Garden Entertainment, Kimberly Kerns, said. “The show has more than 1,000 employees. While there are a vocal few that don’t agree, the vast majority are excited about coming to work.”Under the Music Hall’s policy, masks are recommended but not required for artists, cast and crew members, which differs from the protocol at many performing arts institutions like Carnegie Hall. In addition, at Radio City, not all audience members must wear masks as is the case with all Broadway shows. (The “Christmas Spectacular” is admitting audience members with one dose of a two-dose vaccine, and they will have to wear masks. But fully vaccinated audience members who are 12 or older will not be required to wear a face covering.)Kerns emphasized that Radio City Music Hall is a vastly different kind of venue than a Broadway theater. It is far bigger, with 6,000 seats and more space between the stage and the audience, she said. And, importantly, she said, company officials believe the venue’s air filtration system is “just as good — and most likely better” than any system at any performance venue in the city.The spokeswoman also noted that management does recommend wearing a mask. She said the show has provided information on where and how to get a test off site. And she reiterated that the company is using the same protocols for the “Christmas Spectacular” that it has used effectively for other events at Radio City and other properties the company owns. (Madison Square Garden, another of its venues, has been home to Knicks games and concerts at which vaccinated audience members did not have to wear a mask.)Four unions representing the show’s musicians, stagehands, dressers and its dancers, the Rockettes, did not respond to requests for comment.The “Christmas Spectacular” runs for roughly eight weeks, employs more than 1,000 people, and delights several thousand audience members at each show. On some days during the run, the “Christmas Spectacular” is performed four times in a single day..css-1kpebx{margin:0 auto;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1kpebx{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-1gtxqqv{margin-bottom:0;}.css-k59gj9{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;width:100%;}.css-1e2usoh{font-family:inherit;display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;border-top:1px solid #ccc;padding:10px 0px 10px 0px;background-color:#fff;}.css-1jz6h6z{font-family:inherit;font-weight:bold;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.5rem;text-align:left;}.css-1t412wb{box-sizing:border-box;margin:8px 15px 0px 15px;cursor:pointer;}.css-hhzar2{-webkit-transition:-webkit-transform ease 0.5s;-webkit-transition:transform ease 0.5s;transition:transform ease 0.5s;}.css-t54hv4{-webkit-transform:rotate(180deg);-ms-transform:rotate(180deg);transform:rotate(180deg);}.css-1r2j9qz{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-e1ipqs{font-size:1rem;line-height:1.5rem;padding:0px 30px 0px 0px;}.css-e1ipqs a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}.css-e1ipqs a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1o76pdf{visibility:show;height:100%;padding-bottom:20px;}.css-1sw9s96{visibility:hidden;height:0px;}.css-1in8jot{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;font-family:’nyt-franklin’,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;text-align:left;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1in8jot{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-1in8jot:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1in8jot{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}What to Know About Covid-19 Booster ShotsThe F.D.A. has authorized booster shots for millions of recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna recipients who are eligible for a booster include people 65 and older, and younger adults at high risk of severe Covid-19 because of medical conditions or where they work. Eligible Pfizer and Moderna recipients can get a booster at least six months after their second dose. All Johnson & Johnson recipients will be eligible for a second shot at least two months after the first.Yes. The F.D.A. has updated its authorizations to allow medical providers to boost people with a different vaccine than the one they initially received, a strategy known as “mix and match.” Whether you received Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer-BioNTech, you may receive a booster of any other vaccine. Regulators have not recommended any one vaccine over another as a booster. They have also remained silent on whether it is preferable to stick with the same vaccine when possible.The C.D.C. has said the conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: hypertension and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorders; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; dementia and certain disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.The F.D.A. authorized boosters for workers whose jobs put them at high risk of exposure to potentially infectious people. The C.D.C. says that group includes: emergency medical workers; education workers; food and agriculture workers; manufacturing workers; corrections workers; U.S. Postal Service workers; public transit workers; grocery store workers.Yes. The C.D.C. says the Covid vaccine may be administered without regard to the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy sites are allowing people to schedule a flu shot at the same time as a booster dose.Several company members, who asked not to be named because they said they were concerned about possible retaliation, said they worried about working in cramped spaces backstage; they also noted that they have family members at home who are at risk.Infectious-disease experts say the best way to protect the health and wellness of theater cast and crew members involves a combination of vaccination, air filtration, frequent testing and mandatory masking backstage.At some other venues, employers are requiring, providing and paying for Covid tests for their vaccinated arts workers. Broadway employees are currently being tested at least twice a week. People who work regularly at the Met Opera are expected to take one weekly test between Saturday and Tuesday and another between Wednesday and Friday. The New York Philharmonic tests members of its orchestra as well as crew and staff members who interact with the orchestra once per week.“Not having people mask in a full theater — I’m not ready for that yet,” said Dr. Danielle Ompad, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at New York University. “For a group of employees who are walking around without masks because that’s part of the performance — I would still want to be able to get tested.”Though transmission has been rare at live performance venues so far this fall season, Broadway productions like “Aladdin” caught positive cases within its company through testing and were able to resume performances in relatively short order. More

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    What to Do for Halloween in New York City

    The Village Halloween Parade is back. Haunted houses have reopened. And we’ve rounded up movies that are not-so scary or are downright horrifying.Recently, a friend told me she hated horror movies. Make that horror movie. Turns out she’d only seen one, and didn’t make it through: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”Renouncing horror after watching one of its most notoriously grisly films through trembling fingers is like watching “The Sopranos” and swearing off New Jersey. Take it from a horror movie fan: Being scared doesn’t have to be that scary.In time for Halloween, here’s a selection of in-person experiences around New York City, as well as movies to view at home, to get the just right amount of fright, whether you’re a curious newbie or a seasoned aficionado.Creepy CuddlyFor families with kids.Through Oct. 31, the Metrograph Theater is offering digital streams of a 45-minute compilation of Halloween-themed cartoons from the collection of the archivist Tommy José Stathes, with live-action and animated shorts featuring Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown. (It’s recommended for ages 8 and up.) On Halloween, head to the Film Forum for an 11 a.m. screening of the original “Frankenstein” (1931).“Frankenstein,” from 1931, will be screened at Film Forum on Oct. 31.Universal Studios Home EntertainmentOn Saturday, costume contests for all ages are set at the Bronx Halloween Parade, where the entertainment lineup includes the Marching Cobras, a drum line; Mazarte, a Mexican dance company; and the comedian Sasha Merci, the parade’s host. The Halloween Kids Spooky Cruise (Oct. 23, 30 and 31) offers panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and — you’ve been warned — unlimited Halloween-themed candies. BAMboo! at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Oct. 31) is a free block party with goody bags that kids can grab from decorated car trunks.For families with little ones, steer clear of the movie “Pumpkinhead” and go for the real thing. Pumpkin Point transforms Nolan Park on Governors Island into a family-friendly pumpkin patch; for a donation, you can take home a pumpkin of your own. Decker Farm on Staten Island offers pumpkin carving and a corn maze. Bring your own bag and load up on pumpkins or explore the Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm, which will host trick or treating with farm animals on Halloween.Finish your day with “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” streaming on AppleTV+.Easily EerieFor horror beginners.After being canceled last year because of the coronavirus, New York City’s Village Halloween Parade is back on Oct. 31. Now in its 48th year, the parade runs up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street, starting at 7 p.m. and finishing around 11 p.m. The grand marshal is the comedian and YouTube star Randy Rainbow. If you can’t participate in person, the parade will be telecast live on NY1 starting at 8 p.m.“Universal Horror,” a new eight-film collection on the Criterion Channel, spotlights some of the legendary movie monsters, like Frankenstein and the Mummy, that originated at Universal Pictures in the 1930s. Highlights include the longer and racier Spanish-language version of the original “Dracula” (1931), and Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in the grisly, Poe-inspired revenge tale “The Raven” (1935).Bela Lugosi in “Dracula,” from 1931. Universal PicturesGhost stories, true crime — and interior design? That’s “Dark House,” a new podcast from House Beautiful magazine and the first podcast in Hearst’s 125-year history. The five-episode series is free, and explores the architectural elements of spooky houses around the country. One episode is about a house in the Hollywood Hills — where Jean Harlow and Sharon Tate’s boyfriend Jay Sebring once lived — that may be cursed.The Brooklyn Brainery offers digital and in-person (and affordable!) classes for adults who want to learn about the scary side of history. Options include a “Murder at the Seaport” walking tour in Manhattan (Oct. 23 for $25) and a virtual class on witch hunts (Oct. 27 for $7)..css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-w739ur{margin:0 auto 5px;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-w739ur{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-9s9ecg{margin-bottom:15px;}.css-uf1ume{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}.css-wxi1cx{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-align-self:flex-end;-ms-flex-item-align:end;align-self:flex-end;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Moderately MacabreFor a scare that won’t keep you up at night.The guided NYC Ghosts tour stops at said-to-be haunted locations across New York, including the Jefferson Market Library, which once served as a women’s prison, and a Revivalist Greek brownstone in the West Village that’s known as the House of Death, where the ghost of Mark Twain, who lived there for a year, allegedly roams. For chilly nights, stay at home and read “Yours Cruelly, Elvira,” the dishy new memoir from Elvira (a.k.a. Cassandra Peterson), the longtime horror movie hostess and entrepreneur. In it, she details her rise from a Kansas childhood to Las Vegas showgirl to beloved horror personality. But she also spills the beans on her chance encounter with Elvis and her relationship with a woman. Stream the horror comedy “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark” (1998) on Amazon Prime.The Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan opened this month beneath the landmark 28 Liberty Street building in the Financial District. “Lights of New York,” a series of movies set in and about the city, will include the religious paranoia thriller “God Told Me To” (1976) and the gritty vampire film “The Addiction” (1995), for a week starting Oct. 29. For horror fans on a budget, the new streaming service Kino Cult offers a free deep dive into cinematic weirdness. The collection includes bizarro films by the Oscar-winner Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth”) and the Italian master Mario Bava (“Black Sabbath”), as well as themed collections like ’70s and ’80s Flashback (“The Pit”) and Drive-In Favorites (“Beware! The Blob”).Truly TerrifyingFor those who like their horror pitch black.“The Dark House” in the Hudson Valley, inspired by W.W. Jacobs’s ghost story “The Toll House,” is an immersive theatrical experience that takes place entirely in the dark. Written and directed by Timothy Haskell, the story is told through a headset you wear as you navigate the darkened space, where sounds, tastes and smells emerge around you. The show continues through Oct. 31 at the Philipstown Depot Theater in Garrison, N.Y. The Dark House in the Hudson Valley is an immersive theatrical experience that takes place in the dark.Russ RowlandSpectacle Theater, the offbeat Brooklyn microcinema, has reopened its doors, and its Halloween offerings are as delightfully bizarre as ever. On Halloween night the theater is showing “Cemetery of Terror” (1985), a Mexican film about teenagers who bring a serial killer back from the dead.The creative team behind Blood Manor, the ultra-scary haunted house in Lower Manhattan (through Nov. 6), takes a culinary turn this year with Nightmare on Beech Street, a “haunted dining experience” in Long Beach on Long Island. Costumed actors will interact with diners, who will choose from a menu that includes Witches Hair Pasta, the Death Wish-key cocktail and the Brain Hemorrhage, a chocolate brain-shaped dessert. The venue is open until 2 a.m. through Oct. 31. More

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    Review: The Melancholy of Misspent Lives in ‘Autumn Royal’

    The Irish Repertory Theater returns to live performances with a domestic tragicomedy by Kevin Barry.Above the narrow little room where May and Timothy sit plotting, their father lies abed, his wits gone haywire. Sometimes, from below, they hear him speak the first and only line of the poem he’s been composing for months: “A duck walk across a puddle.”In just those six words, the bird exhibits more agency than May and Tim have shown for years, maybe ever. Well into adulthood, they remain trapped in the same house in Cork, Ireland, where they’ve spent their whole lives — caring for their father and passing cruelly amusing judgment on the neighbors.“The Coynes all had the big, beefy faces,” May says, gazing out the window as one of them walks by. Then comes the withering, tossed-off insult: “Whatever they did wrong in a past life.”Even so, an ingrained dread of what the neighbors might think has kept her and Tim in line, ministering to the man upstairs — May taking on the dirty work, like sponge baths, that Tim claims to be too delicate for.But in Kevin Barry’s domestic tragicomedy, “Autumn Royal,” the first live performance at the Irish Repertory Theater since the start of the pandemic, the time for rebellion has come. Because as unwell as their father might seem, his lab results point to years, maybe decades, more of life.“What are we goin’ to do, May?” asks Tim, who nurses a detailed fantasy of escaping to Australia, where he will surf daily, find a little blond wife and have two children with her named Jason and Mary-Lou.If you’re familiar with Barry’s fiction, like his grim and gorgeous novel “Night Boat to Tangier,” you know that the moral brokenness of his often wildly hilarious characters can take extravagantly violent turns. May (a very funny Maeve Higgins) and Tim (John Keating, ditto) certainly are tempted, in the interest of securing their own freedom.Once they summon their courage, though, the gravest infraction they can commit starts with leafing through the yellow pages, in search of a nursing home. The place they choose is the Autumn Royal — where, Tim says, his guilt slipping out, “There’s only two to a cell.” But ridding themselves of their father isn’t as easy as shipping him off.Ciaran O’Reilly’s production, on Charlie Corcoran’s suitably claustrophobic set, is wonderfully agile with Barry’s comedy but never finds its footing with the intimations of trauma threaded through the script. A revelation near the end doesn’t land with the emotional heft it needs, and neither does the play.In the more surreal moments of painful memory, busy projections (by Dan Scully) crowd the walls, demanding attention, when a less embellished design approach — a change of lighting, say — would have kept the focus on Barry’s language, which is already heavy with atmosphere. Similarly, the sound design (by Ryan Rumery and Hidenori Nakajo) muddies when it means to clarify.This production succeeds mainly on the level of a caper, albeit one spiked with melancholy about squandered lives. Reminiscing about how beautiful their long-split parents once were, Tim laments to his sister, “They could have had magnificent children.”“We’re never going to get past ourselves here, Tim,” May says.Weighed down by duty, stalled by inertia, maybe she’s right.Autumn RoyalThrough Nov. 21 at the Irish Repertory Theater, Manhattan; irishrep.org. Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes. More

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    Concert Halls Are Back. But Visa Backlogs Are Keeping Musicians Out.

    Visa delays are causing tumult in the classical music industry, leading to a wave of cancellations just as live performances are finally returning.When the Seattle Symphony finally performed before a full audience last month for the first time in a year and half, something was missing: its music director, the Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard, who could not get a visa to travel to the United States.The New York Philharmonic had to find a last-minute substitute this week for the esteemed Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who could not get a visa, either. The Metropolitan Opera had to replace two Russian singers in its production of “Boris Godunov.” And the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a British chamber orchestra that has been regularly visiting the United States since 1980, had to abandon a 10-city tour.As the easing of coronavirus restrictions has allowed live performance to return, many cultural organizations are struggling with another problem: their inability to get artists into the United States because of a long backlog of visa applications at American embassies and consulates. The delays have hampered many industries, but they are particularly upending classical music, which relies on stars from all over the world to make a circuit of leading concert halls and opera houses.Many artists have been caught in the middle, forced to dip into savings to make up for lost concert fees and scrambling to fill their schedules.“It’s like training for the Olympic Games for four years and then at the last minute learning you cannot compete,” said Arthur Jussen, a Dutch pianist whose engagements with the Boston Symphony Orchestra were canceled this month because of what the orchestra described as “unprecedented delays” in getting his visa, just weeks after a 14-concert tour in China, with his brother Lucas, fell through. “It is a bitter pill to swallow.”The classical touring industry was one of the first sectors hit by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and now it may be one of the last to recover. Dozens of performances have been canceled in recent weeks in China, Australia, Japan and other countries with sweeping travel restrictions and quarantine rules. The pandemic has served to deepen concerns about the viability of global tours, which have long been considered an essential but expensive part of the classical music ecosystem.But some of the most acute problems are surfacing in the United States.While the Biden administration plans to lift a pandemic-era ban on travelers from 33 countries next month — allowing fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union, China, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, India and other countries — the backlog of visa applications remains a problem.Even in normal times, it can be difficult for visiting artists to obtain the visas they need to perform in the United States. Now they face even longer lines and staff shortages at American embassies and consulates around the world. The earliest available appointments for visa interviews in some cities are for next spring, months after some artists have scheduled performances.The government has allowed exceptions to the travel ban, which remains in effect until early November, for visitors who can prove their work is essential to the U.S. economy. But consulates have in recent weeks been flooded with such requests, adding to the pileup. And some fear the lifting of the travel ban could yield more visa requests — and more delays.Boston Symphony Orchestra with Lucas and Arthur Jussen in September 2019.Winslow TownsonThe State Department, in response to questions about the delays, said the pandemic had resulted in “profound reductions” in its ability to process visas. “As the global situation evolves, the department seeks ways to safely and efficiently process visa applications around the world,” the department said in a statement.In the United States, the visa woes are injecting uncertainty into a fall season that was already rife with challenges, including tepid ticket sales and the ongoing threat posed by the Delta variant.Arts groups are calling on the government to fast-track visas.“The overarching concern is that it would have a chilling effect on international cultural activity and everything it has to offer,” said Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy at the League of American Orchestras. “When arts organizations can’t rely on the process to work, it makes it very expensive and somewhat risky.”The problems have dampened some of the reopening festivities. For months the Seattle Symphony had promoted the return of its music director, Mr. Dausgaard, who had been stuck abroad since March 2020, for its opening night gala. But he was forced to cancel at the last minute because of visa issues.Mr. Dausgaard, who is now on track to get his visa so he can travel next month, said that the restrictions had meant that he and the orchestra had missed opportunities to develop, including by performing new works together.“It is super painful to see ideas, not least those ideas connected to recordings or touring or something bigger than a single concert, go away,” he said. “The most painful part is the lack of contact with the musicians.”Even some of the industry’s biggest stars have been affected by the delays, including Lang Lang, the celebrated Chinese pianist, whose visa to enter the United States for concerts last month came through only at the last minute.In an interview, Mr. Lang said he hoped restrictions around the world would eventually be lifted so that touring could resume in force.“It is essential to show our audiences that concerts are back,” he said. “The world needs live music.”Outside the United States, the obstacles for touring artists are also formidable.China, once a bustling, lucrative market for touring, including for many American orchestras, has also remained closed to most foreigners, including performers.Wray Armstrong, who runs a music agency in Beijing, said many ensembles cannot afford the time and money spent on quarantines, even if they are able to get visas. “We just have to be patient until the rules change,” he said.China’s strict quarantine rules, which require isolation of up to three weeks for anyone entering the country, have had the effect of dissuading many Chinese artists from traveling. The composer and conductor Tan Dun has canceled nearly all appearances outside China since the start of the pandemic, delaying the premiere of several works, including “Requiem for Nature,” which he was to conduct in Amsterdam next month.Travel restrictions have added to pressures on many orchestras, which have traditionally depended on tours for branding and prestige. The pandemic has prompted many to cancel plans to travel overseas or to consider scaling back; some larger orchestras are considering sending smaller ensembles instead.Zubin Mehta, the renowned conductor, said it was important for American orchestras to maintain robust touring schedules so that they can develop and show off the strength of music in the United States internationally.“An orchestra always comes back from a major tour a better orchestra,” he said. “A great American orchestra playing in Berlin getting a standing ovation is a reflection on America.”For artists dealing with delays gaining entry to the United States, the experience has been trying.Stephen Stirling, principal horn for the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, said the ensemble’s fall tour would have helped him offset some of the thousands of dollars he has lost in fees when he was unable to perform during the pandemic.Mr. Stirling said it was jarring to be dealing with travel restrictions at a time when many cultural institutions are reopening across the world.“Most people’s business is picking up, but we’re still getting cancellations,” he said. “The sooner things can return to normal, the better. We’re desperate to tour again.” More