The famous Italian conductor Riccardo Muti on Monday appealed to Italy’s government to rethink its decision to shut down theatres, cinemas and concert halls.
The shutdowns, which come into force on Monday, were announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as part of measures to contain escalating coronavirus infections.
In a letter to Conte published by the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Muti said society needs “spiritual nourishment” from music and theatre, otherwise “it turns ugly.”
The 79-year-old maestro charged that music and theatre shows were not “superfluous” in the current pandemic, as he had heard government ministers say.
Muti said that to make such a claim denoted “ignorance, lack of culture and lack of sensitivity’’, insisting that anti-coronavirus rules have always been respected in theatres.
A parallel online appeal by theatre managers, film directors, actors, writers and others has received more than 64,000 signatures.
However, the National Institute of Health said that pandemic trends warranted a “drastic reduction in physical interactions between people” and “restrictions on mobility.”
New restrictions also include the closing of bars and restaurants from 6 pm (1700 GMT), a total ban on visitors in football stadiums, and the closing of gyms and pools.
Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday that Milan’s famous La Scala opera had closed after nine choristers and three orchestra members tested positive for the virus.
Italy reported a record of 21,273 daily virus infections on Sunday as well as 128 deaths. Daily figures have roughly doubled in the past week.
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Ekemini Ladejobi