Guys, stop telling people to #breakquarantine because of a crowded plane

Guys, stop telling people to #breakquarantine because of a crowded plane

Jenna Simeonov

Oh, hell no, ladies. Outta here with this stupid shit.

Yep, I’m riled up. I’m riled up about Sonya Yoncheva and Anna Netrebko, and how they in particular responded to baritone Michael Volle’s recent Instagram posts about crowds.

Volle posted two photos for comparison, one of him on a packed flight, and another taken of a sparsely populated concert hall in Wiesbaden. The point of the photos, I guess, was to say that there’s a double-standard between transportation and the arts; that it’s not fair that planes can fill up, but performers have to play to, at best, socially distanced audiences.

Or at least that’s the point that Sonya Yoncheva took when she spread the post on Twitter:

And then Anna got into it:

I’ll say it another way: oh, fuck no. These ladies - and the way-too-many who echo their sentiments on social media - looked at these two photos, and came to the wrong damned conclusion. The story is NOT that the arts are getting the shit end of the stick, having to live behind stronger social distancing measures than other industries - airlines, say - and that no one respects the business they’re losing, nor the importance “culture” plays in society.

The story is that that plane looks fucking unsafe. Who cares if it’s in contrast to the concert audience, with listeners sat separated by three empty seats to enable a healthy amount of room? No, it’s not consistent. Yes, it’s horribly frustrating to have so many unanswered questions, especially when you’re still trying to live an international life.

You know what’s also unsafe? Anna Netrebko telling her 577K Instagram followers to #stopstupidrules and #breakquarantine. (Actually, she told them to #brackequarantine, but it’s still a stupid, unsafe thing to do.) Anna, stop this shit. I know you want to get back onstage, and I agree with you that we’re missing culture in a major way. But you are not a voice of authority with all of this. I hate to say it, because you’re a proper opera superstar with pipes of gold, but please know your place.

And Sonya Yoncheva all threatening to sing an aria on her next flight? Does she think that’s safe? Because I don’t. And I don’t think she does, either. But it doesn’t sound like she’s saying those passengers are in an unsafe position on that flight; she’s mad that the performing arts aren’t back yet.

Of course everyone is eager to get onstage, especially singers like these. It’s their passion, their livelihood, and it sucks that it’s on indefinite pause. And yes, those photos Volle posted show a double-standard. But so what? One of them is showing safe behaviour, and the other is not. Why are you mad that the arts aren’t able to behave as unsafely as the airline industry?

Opera people, hang in there. You’re being troopers and innovators and generous people despite losing the thing you love and your ability to live comfortably. It’s so awful, and my heart hurts for you guys. But when you’re not being live opera singers, you’re still being public figures who can set a good example and be good citizens.

#breakquarantine…get outta here with that shit.

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