We weren’t permitted to go to live theatre.
Performers have struggled with the loss of income, companies evaluating their business models as they contemplate the future. It remains to be seen just what impacts will be felt upon opera, the art form known to be the most expensive of all. COVID19 has been a catalyst for change in every arena, so why not in the realm of opera too. Although some might claim that the changes were inevitable, I believe the drama of the past 18 months will change the way we experience theatre.
Unable to offer performances inside its building, the Metropolitan Opera offered free streaming, that comes to an end this week after more than a year of free operas, as seen in their announcement:
“After 70 weeks, 112 different operas, and more than 21.2 million views from 152 countries, our series of free Nightly Opera Streams reaches its grand finale. Enjoy one last week of exceptional performances, specially chosen by viewers.”
They picked the following operas:
Monday, July 19 Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
Tuesday, July 20 Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci
Wednesday, July 21 Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles
Thursday, July 22 Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Friday, July 23 Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment
Saturday, July 24 Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Sunday, July 25 Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera
San Francisco Opera offer free streaming each weekend. Theirs is a bit different from the Met, in that you have to register as a member to get access. After Berlioz’s Les Troyens this past weekend (July 17–18), upcoming operas are Strauss’ Elektra July 24–25 and Verdi’s Luisa Miller July 31–August 1. I don’t know if it ends there or if there are more for August…
Which brings us to the Canadian Opera Company. If you’ve been watching the monthly Check-in with Perryn, a regular series with the COC’s new general director Perryn Leech, you will have heard him say that while there are question-marks about how the COC will return, their fall season will be virtual. While we don’t know precisely who (the singers) or what,(the operas) the COC now have new toys to play with, thanks to government grants to fund the “Digital Infrastructure Enhancements Project at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.”
So move over Met. Get ready San Francisco Opera. Your neighbours to the north are getting into the act. Although it’s not yet clear exactly what we will be seeing & hearing, Episode 5 of Check-in with Perryn promised a big announcement on August 16th to give us a better idea what to expect.
Episode 5 also included a lovely picture of George, Perryn’s dog.