On Monday, the Lyric Opera of Chicago changed its guidelines to remove the 2.5-hour maximum length for performances and reinstate intermissions it had previously imposed in its 2021/22 season announcement released on May 19.
Organization leaders said the change is in response to changing state and federal guidelines — such as Chicago’s full reopening in June — and additional advice from health officials. The original decision also led to some subscriber backlash regarding comfort in the concert hall, according to Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones.
“We had to make our initial decisions within a vacuum of information, and, at the time, this felt like a good way to help people feel ready to return to the opera house,” general director Anthony Freud told the Chicago Tribune. “But the new guidance from the authorities means the changes are no longer necessary.”
But as the pandemic situation continues to evolve, the organization plans to continue monitoring public health policy and act in the best interest of audiences, artists, and staff — so protocol may continue to change, Holly Gilson, senior director of communications, told The Violin Channel.
Lyric currently plans to go forward with 100 percent seating capacity, continue with enhanced sanitation practices, and offer livestreams of its concerts.