Post-Brexit rules force Bryn Terfel into mad visa dash for Vienna opera performance
Frustrated opera star Bryn Terfel has revealed he had to travel from Austria to Slovakia to get a visa so he can perform in the Austrian capital.
The trip yesterday came about after the internationally renowned bass baritone from Pant Glas in Gwynedd fell victim to new restrictions imposed on performers as a result of Brexit.
With just 24 hours to spare, he travelled an hour on the train to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava so he could get a visa from the Austrian Embassy to allow him sing at the Vienna State Opera.
The Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows visitors to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period, and the opera singer had almost maxed out his quota.
Terfel made the cross border dash ahead of the opening night this evening of the Benjamin Britten opera, Peter Grimes, in which he will be taking the role of Captain Balstrode at the Vienna State Opera.
Clearly frustrated, he posted a picture of himself at the train station in Bratislava on Facebook.
‘Why am I here’
He said: “So. Why am I here the day before opening night of Peter Grimes in Vienna. Well. Long story short. I was nearly over the Schengen days. Note to all performers. Either download the darn Schengen day calculator or count back 180 days to see if you are anywhere close to the 90 day allowance.
“The consequence was a day trip to the closest Austrian Embassy outside of Austria for a working visa. I was a tad lucky this time as it was only an hour on the train from Vienna. The Vienna state opera and my agency Harlequin were onto it like a flash.
“I am quite certain that I will not make that same mistake again. Surely the Government can do something about this. Pronto. Ship ahoy for tomorrow.”
The issue has been a bone of contention for the music industry since the Brexit deal was struck.
Last year furious musicians gathered over 260,000 signatures on a petition to the Westminster government asking for a “Europe-wide visa-free work permit for touring professionals and artists”.
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