Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Spain is a country with particular characteristics regarding the distribution of competencies in the fields of culture and health. There is a Ministry of Culture at the State level that finances many of the large institutions and theatres, but in most of them the Regions (there are 17 in Spain), the City Councils, and the Provincial Councils also finance with different percentages of funding.
In the case of theatres and auditoriums, public funding can range from 100%, as at the Auditori de Barcelona, Auditorio Nacional de Música (OCNE) and Teatro Nacional de la Zarzuela, to 45% as at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, 23% at the Teatro Real, or much lower percentages, as at the Ópera de Oviedo or the Teatro de la Maestranza.
In some of them, constituted by foundations, the boards of trustees include the public institutions which contribute with money.
CANCELATIONS AND AUDIENCE RESTRICTIONS
Cancellations in Spain have not been marked by the level of public funding, but by the health regulations imposed in each Region, which are free to decide the restrictions, and depending on the rules, the desire, imagination, or capacity of the managers, different measures have been adopted, ranging from streaming’s with audiences, streaming’s without audiences, the adaptation of opera productions in concert version, changes in programming, cancellations or non-cancellations.
Currently, in Spain, audience restrictions in Spain are around 50% (in Andalusia until 9 April, a maximum of 200-person max. in the audience was established, which led to the temporary cancellation of the Teatro de la Maestranza and Orquesta de Sevilla program because it was economically unsustainable) and this has allowed, keeping a series of health regulations, to maintain the activity minimally, especially in large theatres and auditoriums. Antigen tests are usually carried out on soloists every week in opera productions, or they are asked to carry a PCR test done a maximum of 3 days before the beginning of the production or concert. In theatres, when a positive case of COVID is found, the person is taken out from the production, and the people who have interacted with them the most are quarantined. This has certainly caused unfair situations of cancellations of contracts for people who were COVID negative, but because of the contact established and as a preventive measure, they have also been taken out from the production.
“Lesson in love and Violence" was recently cancelled at the Teatro Real because it was being prepared at the same time as "Peter Grimes", and it was found that staging two productions in the same theatre increased the risk of COVID cases. “Peter Grimes" has been kept and the dates have been postponed by 15 days.
In any case, information about these situations is usually handled in a somewhat opaque manner.
AIDS FOR ARTISTS
As far as support for artists is concerned, it is very irregular. The State offers a mixture of aid between a kind of unemployment benefit for the self-employed, or direct aid for the self-employed (approx. 660€ + self-employed quota), the latter from February '21 to May '21. Each Autonomous Community has offered aid in different ways, ranging from €750 to €2000 in a single payment. In any case, the aid has been insufficient.
Compensation for cancellations has been very poor or not given at all. In some cases, the minimum, the full amount of the contract has been paid, but this was mainly at the beginning of the pandemic, and we are not aware of any cases at present. Theatres and auditoriums have tried to reschedule cancelled concerts and operas.
There has been an experiment of a concert for 5000 people of "Love of Lesbian" in Barcelona, without keeping security measures or masks, after an antigen test at the entrance of the concert. It has been a success, but there is currently doubt whether the tests have failed in one of the cases, and they are looking into if there have been infected people because of this issue.
On 8/5/2021, 28,27% of the population has been vaccinated with the first dose and 6.05% with the second dose. It is estimated that by 12 February 2022, 50% of the population will have been vaccinated, and by 23 February 2023, 100% will have been vaccinated.
NEWS FROM SPAIN SECTION
The Sindicato de Artistas Líricos de España (ALE), gets from Senate
to declare Culture an Essential Asset
The declaration has been signed by all the parties represented in the Senate.
Despite the lack of communication with the Minister of Culture Uribes, the Sindicato de Artistas Líricos de España has achieved a great moral victory these days. After A.L.E. led a campaign to collect signatures on the platform change.org, which in one week has collected more than 22,000 signatures, the Senate has declared itself in favor of declaring Culture as an Essential Asset. The proposer, the regional senator for Navarre, Koldo Martínez (Geroa Bai), pointed out that this is a step towards protecting the 700,000 families who depend on the sector and whose future is at risk by the measures against the pandemic.
The declaration, which was signed by all the parties represented in the Upper House, was read out by the president at the plenary session on 22 September. "In this declaration, it is clear that ALE's petition was the driving force behind this necessary measure," the union welcomes. This declaration includes lines that the Senate considers appropriate that the Council of Ministers approved, as has happened in other countries, the declaration of Culture as an Essential Asset, protecting an activity that is necessary for the strengthening and cohesion of society as other activities that have been protected in different phases of the measures adopted by the State, regional and local authorities throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Geroa Bai explains that they echoed "a petition from various cultural and artistic groups, including ALE, who asked the Government to declare Culture as an Essential Asset".