Here's how it happened...

By Alison Fox
Updated June 01, 2020
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People in France, like much of the world, may be quarantined due to the coronavirus, but that didn’t stop the National Orchestra of France from doing what they do best.

Streaming solo from their homes, the orchestra of 50 played “Bolero,” sporting headphones and casual clothes during the at-home show. In the video, that has almost one million views, one musician beats a drum with the words “stay home” written on it and another drummer — who doesn’t have his drums — used kitchen utensils as his instrument.

Didier Benetti, who used a wooden spoon and ladle as drumsticks and two chairs instead of his kettle drum for the impromptu gig, told The Associated Press that, “For us, the public is essential. Without the public, we don’t really exist."

“We are starting to realize that we really need each other… Music is sharing,” he added.

The orchestra received their sheet music over email and were given an audio track to listen to as they played their individual parts, according to The AP. And while the wire service noted “Bolero” is typically a 15 minute piece, it was condensed down to just under four minutes.

As for the process of making the video that was filmed last week, the individual performances — that took four days to collect —were then cut together with audio of a previous show.

“Waiting to see you again,” the orchestra wrote in French in a post with the video. “In the delicate period that we are going through, the musicians of the National Orchestra of France wanted, despite the distance, to play together to offer and share with everyone what they can do best: music.”

The orchestra isn’t alone in bringing typically grand performances into the comfort of people’s living rooms as COVID-19 forces people to stay home. The Metropolitan Opera in New York, for example, is streaming encore performances for free while the Paris Opera is live streaming classic ballets and operas like Swan Lake and Carmen.

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