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Sacramento opera cast comes down with COVID 24 hours before curtain

The team at Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera hurriedly found understudies from the region to step in to avoid canceling the performance, rescheduled from April 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This weekend, set to be the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera’s rescheduled 2020 performance of "Barber of Seville," was nearly sidelined by COVID-19 again.

Executive Director Giuliano Kornberg said six of seven performers tested positive for COVID-19. He said the cluster was contained only to the cast. 

“The four lead roles for the production tested positive for COVID within 24 hours before the show," he said.

In his role for only 3 months and leading a small staff of less than a dozen, Kornberg said they jumped into action to find understudies to fill roles and avoid cancelling the show a second time. 

“The last one came from Modesto at 6:45 p.m., like an hour and 15 before showtime," he said with a relieved laugh. 

Kornberg said it was another cancelation averted. More than 2,000 guests enjoyed a concert-style opera and the audience was strongly encouraged to mask up. 

The comeback concert was a close call, but Kornberg said it was a lesson to have backup plans in place as communities continue to learn how to live with the virus. 

“I think the name of the game right now is flexibility," Kornberg said. 

More than 40 states and territories are seeing an increase of 10% or more COVID cases in the last week. According to state data, the average 7-day case rate nearly tripled between mid-March and early May. 

Though cases and hospitalizations are ticking back up, daily death rates are falling, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said proves vaccines and boosters are working.


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