We invite you to dip into some of the telephone conversations from the event. We are not able to share the audio material that the ushers shared with the callers, that was unique to the live event. However, this spoken word archive provides an amazing sense of what this moment was like for those who participated in THIS EVENING’S PERFORMANCE.

For more information about the archive of conversations created during this project please contact us.

“We were in rehearsal, we had been working for three weeks, the day it was cancelled was our first day on the set. We had the first sense of what it was going to be like. We had this huge set with two floors, it looked fantastic. We were imagining what the costumes would look like on there. Then the director of BNO came, stopped the rehearsal and said “I’m sorry, we have to cancel”

caller – wow I can imagine, and did people from other countries have to fly back?

Usher – yes, some colleagues had to get home to their families and luckily we had some time before all the flights were cancelled.”

BNO’s production of La Clemenza di Tito

“We were four days away from opening Achille in Sciro, we were trying everything to continue, but obviously, in the end the government instructed everywhere to close and that was that. As you can imagine it was incredibly frustrating, everything was ready. So that was it, we had to return home, most of the artistic team and the singers came from abroad.

We hope we will be able to bring it to stage a couple of years from now.”

Usher from Teatro Real’s production of Achille in Sciro

Caller – did you have any way to collectively mourn the closing of the show?

Usher – there was this very strange last day, you might have experienced the same thing with the pandemic, there was this incredible excelleration of time, in the last week of rehearsals it was not clear what was going to happen. First they said we will perform next week and then the day after that they said that we might not perform to an audience but we’ll live stream it. Then it was we won’t manage the premier but we might make it to the dress rehearsal, it changed day by day. The last day was surreal, we went to the theatre in the morning to work on lights, we were rehearsing all day. At 4pm everything was cancelled, it was that fast. We called everyone on stage, everyone who was there, some of them were not there and went directly to the airport, but those who were there came on stage, which of course was the worst thing to do, looking back. It was very awkward, we were looking at each other and I can’t say that no one hugged. The next morning, I was on the flight back home.

Usher from Teatro Real’s production of Achille in Sciro

Hello helloI’m just pressing buttons I didn’t expect to speak to a person!

Caller to This Evening’s Performance

“We were shut down three days before our premiere…”

Usher for Staatsoper Hannover’s production of The Murder of Halit Yozgat

This has highlighted for me how much we take for granted that human to human interaction we do on a daily basis. Whether it’s buying a loaf of bread in a shop or whatever it is, that is all taken away, when we’re in a one dimensional world on a screen. –It’s sort of satisfyingly old fashioned to have a phone call, I think this is quite heartening, speaking to a real human. That’s what drew me towards it.

Usher for Bergen National Opera’s Celmenza di Tito