GENEVA (Reuters) – French pianist Eric Artz has performed for the first time in seven months in Geneva, after Switzerland eased COVID-19 restrictions and allowed concert venues to readmit a limited numbers of guests.
“It’s a lot of emotion after this first concert because it’s been seven months now that I have not been able to perform on stage. So here I’m coming back to life,” he told Reuters after his show on Wednesday at the 19th century theatre ‘Les Salons’.
For his candle-lit comeback, the artist decided to trade Chopin and Beethoven for Manga anime songs such as Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon.
“Honestly, it’s difficult to not have these cultural places where we can go and just enjoy things we like,” said concert-goer Laurane Pinard, who felt “privileged” to be able to attend.
Only 50 people were allowed in to the show, where masks and social distancing measures were mandatory.
“The only problem was it’s very complicated to have 50 persons in a room, but we wanted to produce those shows to give culture its taste back,” said Solal Azeroual, artistic director of event organizer “Fever”.
The Swiss government plans to re-open indoor dining in restaurants from May 31, allow increased attendance at public events and ease work-from-home requirements, as infections, hospitalisations and deaths have fallen.
Switzerland is preparing to allow 3,000-person events for vaccinated attendees from July if infections continue their downward trajectory.
Around 685,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 10,000 have died of COVID-19 in Switzerland and neighbouring Liechtenstein since the coronavirus pandemic began.
(Reporting by Cecile Mantovani and Denis Balnouse, Writing by Michael Shields; Editing by Mike Collett-White)