【媒庫文選】音樂能否再次起飛?
2020年07月15日21:13

原標題:【媒庫文選】音樂能否再次起飛?

Canthe Music Take Flight Again? 音樂能否再次起飛?

Richard Fairman 理查德·費爾曼

It was summer 10 years ago and the check-in area at Gatwick Airport was even more crowded than usual. Two long queues straggled a few desks apart and the people in them were calling across to each other noisily, comparing notes on their upcoming trips.

These were two British orchestras setting out on tour. With the explosion in music festivals, the summer months have become a busy travel period for international ensembles, jetting around from Lucerne to Edinburgh, Salzburg to the BBC Proms in London.

Not this year, of course. But the big question is what will happen to orchestral touring in the future, as cultural organisations struggle back into life, blinking in the light of a new world shaped by the financial ruin left by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is a big market. This year's Lucerne Festival was to have included visits by two orchestras from Berlin, two from London, two from Vienna, as well as orchestras from Amsterdam, Birmingham, Helsinki and Munich. Salzburg's intended line-up included many of the same; also on the touring circuit were Pittsburgh and Perm in Russia, and we will never know what the BBC Proms originally had planned.

“This is an important part of our business,” says Donagh Collins, chief executive of Askonas Holt, the London agency that handles touring for many of the world's top orchestras. “Over the past 10 years touring has grown to about 20-25 per cent of our revenues. Most of what we handle is long-haul tours and each of those will bring in income of millions of euros. The Berlin Philharmonic tours regularly to Asia, which is an essential part of their business model. The London Symphony Orchestra will spend around 100 days per year abroad and that contributes to how they make a surplus.” The LSO estimates that the total income from its overseas projects reaches about £8m a year.

It is not hard to see why the immediate outlook is bleak. Airlines might be keen to see these mass bookings return but most orchestras are likely to have more pressing priorities.

“Of all the hard-hit areas of the music industry, touring is the one most difficult to predict,” says Collins. “I am not so naive as to think it will bounce back over the next two to three years. We had the climate change issue before and now that is compounded by coronavirus.”

At this lowest point, he is keen to stress the positive. “As a child living in Dublin, I was hugely influenced by the opportunity to see the great international orchestras,” he says. “I passionately believe that touring has a future. Getting orchestras out of their hometowns is important, as they make high-profile ambassadors, especially for cities like Chicago and Philadelphia.”

The question is what form will future tours take? A vaccine would clearly change everything. Otherwise, the most likely way forward will involve the protocols already in use in south-east Asia, such as testing, temperature checks, masks and protective screens, though preferably not the financially devastating reduction in audience numbers caused by social distancing.

Collins envisages a deeper rethink. “We have to judge what place touring will occupy in an orchestra's programme in future, and what justifies its ambition. There will be a new reality emerging over four to five years.”

He foresees tours being fewer and farther between. Some of the ideas already being formulated to deal with climate change will get a boost — more sensible itineraries, fewer planes, more train journeys, and lightening the load, both of the number of people travelling and the cargo. Collins suggests that orchestras might leave some bulky instruments, such as a marimba or a bass drum, at distant venues and rent them out to local orchestras, so as to bring the freight bill down.

Whatever happens, the globalisation of music is unlikely to shudder to a halt. Modern technology has made online stars out of the world's top-level orchestras and musicians, so the desire to see them for real only looks likely to increase.

那是10年前的夏天,蓋特威克機場的值機區比平時更加擁擠。兩條長隊隔著幾張桌子散亂地延伸開去,隊伍里的人們正大聲地互相招呼,就接下來的旅行交換看法。

這是兩支出發去巡演的英國管絃樂團。隨著音樂節爆炸式增加,夏季已經成為國際樂團的繁忙旅行季,樂團成員們乘飛機四處跑,從盧塞恩到愛丁堡,從薩爾斯堡到倫敦的英國廣播公司逍遙音樂會。

當然,這不是今年的情況。但在文化組織努力恢復生機、面對由這場冠狀病毒大流行留下的經濟瘡痍所塑造的新世界之際,重要的問題是管絃樂團巡演未來會怎樣。

這是一個巨大的市場。今年的盧塞恩音樂節原本會迎來兩支柏林樂團、兩支倫敦樂團、兩支維也納樂團以及來自阿姆斯特丹、伯明翰、赫爾辛基和慕尼黑的樂團。薩爾斯堡的預期陣容包括許多相同的樂團;其他巡演目的地還有匹茲堡和俄羅斯的彼爾姆,我們永遠不會知道英國廣播公司逍遙音樂會最初的計劃是什麼。

為很多世界頂級樂團處理巡演事宜的倫敦代理商阿斯科納斯·霍爾特公司的首席執行官多納·柯林斯說:“這是我們業務的一個重要組成部分。10年來,巡演已經增長到占我們收入的20%至25%左右。我們處理的大多是長途巡演,每次這樣的巡演都能帶來數百萬歐元收入。柏林愛樂樂團定期到亞洲巡演,這是他們商業模式的重要組成部分。倫敦交響樂團每年會在國外度過約100天,這有助於他們實現盈餘。”據倫敦交響樂團估計,每年來自其海外項目的總收入達到800萬英鎊(1英鎊約合人民幣8.79元——本網注)左右。

近期前景暗淡的原因不難理解。航空公司可能熱切希望這些批量預訂回歸,然而,大多數樂團很可能有更緊迫的優先事項。

柯林斯說:“在音樂產業所有遭受沉重打擊的領域中,巡演是最難預測的。我不會天真地認為它將在未來兩到三年內複原。以前我們有氣候變化問題,現在又增添了新冠病毒。”

在這個最低穀,他熱衷於強調積極面。他說:“作為一個生活在都柏林的孩子,我曾因為有機會觀看優秀國際管絃樂團的演出而深受影響。我堅信巡演擁有光明前景。讓管絃樂團走出去非常重要,因為他們會成為引人注目的大使,尤其是對芝加哥和費城這樣的城市而言。”

問題是,未來的巡演會採取何種形式?疫苗顯然會改變一切。否則,最有可能的出路將包含東南亞已在使用的做法,例如檢測、體溫測量、口罩和防護隔板,不過最好不要出現對經濟狀況造成毀滅性影響的為保持社交距離而使觀眾人數減少。

柯林斯設想了一種更深入的反思。他說:“我們必須判斷未來巡演將在一支樂團的活動安排中佔據什麼位置,以及它的雄心有何依據。未來四五年將出現一個新的現實。”

他預計巡演會減少。一些已經在構思的旨在應對氣候變化的想法將得到推動——製定更合理行程、少乘飛機、多乘火車以及在出行人員和行李上減負。柯林斯建議管絃樂團可以在遙遠的演出場所留下一些笨重的樂器,比如馬林巴琴或低音鼓,把它們租給當地樂團,以降低託運費用。

無論發生什麼,音樂的全球化都不太可能止步不前。現代技術已使一些世界頂級樂團和音樂家成為網絡明星,因此,現場觀看他們演出的渴望很可能只會增加。(李莎譯自英國《金融時報》網站7月1日文章)

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