How to Produce Opera during a Pandemic

Hi Everyone! I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend and are being safe, following the guidelines, and staying healthy! Today I just wanted to share with you all that MCO has great news. Our production of I Pagliacci at the Tennessee Amphitheater has been approved by the City of Knoxville, including the Mayor. I have been staying up to date on the health initiatives in our community as a Covid-19 Coordinator through the Knox Health Department, and our attention to detail and creating a mitigation plan to move forward with our production has been crucial to our success in moving forward.

Please read our plan below so that you can plan accordingly as you purchase tickets for our event. We will be following these guidelines to keep our artists, staff, and patrons safe.

For tickets:

Marble City Opera


Guiding Principles

· No more than 15 people on Stage

· 100 patrons max – Seating will be clearly marked

· 3 volunteers


· TN amphitheater

Know the Risk

· MCO will be offering a streaming version of the production to reach an online audience as well.

· Provide socially distant seating (no more than 2 people sitting together)

· Patrons must wear masks. MCO will publicize and announce through social media and email, and provide masks to patrons who do not wear one. (MCO has requested masks from the health department)

· All volunteers, staff, and musicians not singing will wear a mask.

o Only singers will remain unmasked, when singing at a distance of at least 15 feet from the audience.

· Musical production is one hour in length

Best Practices

· MCO Executive Director is the covid-19 coordinator for the company and receives all information from the health department and attends all zoom meetings available, including the contact tracing call already provided.

· MCO will provide sanitation stations

· Staff, performers, and volunteers will all be required to have daily temperature checks upon entering the venue with non-touch thermometer.

· MCO is happy to check patron temperatures with non-touch thermometer as well, based on the health department and cities request.

· MCO will provide a staggered audience arrival approach to the performance, allowing the venue to be open an hour before the event to avoid patrons standing in lines.

o MCO will mark 6ft social distancing lines on the pavement in order to provide safe distance between patrons upon their arrival

· MCO will provide an isolation station

· MCO will only provide online tickets. No in-person tickets will be sold

· MCO will provide programs online to be viewed on patrons’ personal phones, or to be printed before their arrival.

· MCO will disinfect all surface areas that are used or touched.

· Volunteers will wear masks and gloves provided by MCO.


· MCO will collect email and phone for all patrons, staff, volunteers, and production team and keep a spreadsheet of this information per performance day.


· Signage

o MCO will create Enter and Exit signs providing one way to enter and one way to exit.

o MCO will create a clear path to seating and use volunteers to help guide audience to appropriate socially distant seating

o MCO will look at the best way to seat the audience, including seating based on arrival time, so that patrons are not walking past one another.

o Seating will be clearly marked in order to keep patrons safely socially distant from one another

· Social Media & Mass Email

o MCO will provide guidelines through social media posts, email blasts, and on our website.

· In case of cancellation

o MCO will be filming the performance and offering a virtual ticket. In case the audience is no longer able to gather, we will film the performance and stream online.

Employee / Volunteer Guidance

· MCO will be following all guidelines during rehearsals leading up to the performance.

o Daily Health screenings: temp checks with non-touch thermometer and symptom check

o Symptom Check includes:

§ A fever

§ Cough

§ New shortness of breath

§ New chills

§ A sore throat

§ New muscle aches

§ Loss of taste or smell

o Have you come into contact with anyone in the last two weeks who tested positive for Covid-19?

o Stagger shift: Only requiring the minimum people in the room at a time

o Using a well-ventilated rehearsal space with easy access to soap and water for hand washing

o Wearing masks and social distancing as possible

o Self-quarantine when not in rehearsals, and providing covid testing two weeks before rehearsals begin.

o For general information on quarantine and isolation, please see the CDC website

o MCO asks all artistic staff to practice social distancing and proper PPE usage when doing the following:

§ Going to public areas (parks, grocery stores, etc)

§ Congregating in private areas

o MCO has a designated covid coordinator and contact information will be provided to the staff

o Cleaning supplies, gloves, hand sanitizer will be provided

o All surfaces and items used or touched in rehearsal will be immediately sanitized

o Rehearsal location is scheduled to be deep cleaned before artists begin to work.

o Anyone showing symptoms or a fever will be asked to stay home.

o MCO’s covid coordinator will provide a zoom meeting for procedure and policy


For more information on health in Knoxville visit:

o Artistic Staff understands that they are direct representatives of MCO while they are under contract and that all social media posts and in person interactions, whether at work or during free time, directly reflect on MCO’s handling of employee and patron safety.

· MCO reserves the right to update the safety guidelines and procedures as needed and requested by the Knox health department.


· No vendors, food, or drink will be provided

· Volunteers with information table will wear masks and gloves

· No cash or card exchanges (all ticketing will be done online prior to event)

· MCO will monitor the queue lines by providing clear socially distant marks on the ground to keep people socially distant and provide a staggered entrance time before the performance.

· No merchandise will be sold

· Audience will be guided to stagger their exit after the performance

#marblecityopera #opera #producingduringapandemic #outdooropera #tnamphitheater #pagliacci #viewstub #wearyourmask

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