Because sports stadiums have so much space and so many seats—and many of them are unused due to the pandemic—they have become attractive options for socially distanced orchestra performances. In early September, Oklahoma’s Tulsa Symphony Orchestra performed an all-Beethoven concert at the 7,833-seat ONEOK Field—home of the Tulsa Drillers baseball team—before an audience of 1,641 people, all wearing masks and socially distanced. The orchestra normally performs at Tulsa Performing Arts Center, in which the largest space, Chapman Hall, has 2,365 seats. Florida’s Orlando Philharmonic performed its September 26 season-opening concert at Exploria Stadium, home to Orlando’s professional soccer teams. Attendance at the 25,500-seat stadium was limited to 2,000 concertgoers. The Philharmonic’s usual venue, the Bob Carr Theater, is closed because its older ventilation system could not be adapted to meet current health guidelines. Musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra performed Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” all around Greater Cleveland this summer, including at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball.
Caption1: The Orlando Philharmonic, Music Director Eric Jacobsen, and violinist Simone Porter perform at Exploria Stadium on September 26, 2020. Photo by Alex Sturgill.
Caption2: Cleveland Orchestra horn players perform Beethoven at Progressive Field, July 30, 2020. Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Orchestra.