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Coronavirus at the Paris Opera

France has become one of the countries with the most cases of coronavirus. The French government published official precautions which are displayed in public areas, especially in front of the toilets. The Paris Opera has ordered masks and désinfectant hand gels. According to the official sources, we are now at stage-2 of the epidemic and sonner or later we will pass to stage-3 and probably more restriction measures will be announced. Now, all the public events with more than 5000 people are cancelled in Europe. The performances at the Opera gathering no more than 3000 people in our theatres, our shows are not affected. 

While there are nearly 1000 cases already in France, the numbers in Hong Kong remain, apparently, stable, only a bit more than 100 cases. I am surprised by how different the attitude people have in these two places. Hongkongers seem to be extremely careful, and French people seem, still, quite relaxed. 

In Balanchine, my first cast is injured and I have been “dancing” in every show since 2 weeks. In the beginning of the series, even though it is only 1 min, I was a little nervous. Now, it has become a sort of routine. I know exactly how to time my preparation: 

7pm signature + make up + hair dress
7:30 Serenade starts, back to changing room 

7:40 get changed in costume
7:45 go down to the side stage 
7:50 very short warmup 
8pm on stage
8:01 finished 
8:15 out of the theatre 

Would the Paris Opera be contaminated with Covid-19? A part of the company is now performing in Japan and will soon be flying back. For this afternoon’s Balanchine performance, I went to the makeup area as usual. My hairdresser told me that she had difficulties breathing and that last night, it was almost unbearable, like asthma. Another lady who helped me with my makeup told me once I saw her, “I am coughing but don’t worry”. I looked around the studio, I suddenly felt like everyone was more or less sick! Should we worry?

The preparation of the creation of Alan Oyen is moving forward gradually. A group of dancers seem to be chosen, and we have been creating more and more material for the piece. We can see what the others have created, and I am constantly impressed by my colleagues. For the moment, we have a lot of ideas and choreographies, which are not yet put into one piece. Nevertheless, I am pretty certain that the final production will be an interesting and successful one. 

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