"Finally, the evening was over and he offered to take me home in a cab. When we arrived at my apartment, he reached over and attempted to kiss me, pressing his body against me. I brushed him off and pushed him away, saying I didn’t want that and that I was in a relationship. He backed off and he drove away."
"After the incident, I was cold and distant toward him for the rest of the program, and I believe that affected my chances of getting cast in any of the school's opera productions. I also decided to avoid summer programs for almost 10 years after this, and only really felt comfortable with female teachers."
"This isn't my only story of being on the other side of predatory behavior in professional settings, but it is an experience I think of regularly and one which has had a profound negative impact on my life."
Honestly, I wasn't even sure what I meant to do with these stories even as I was receiving them by the hour. What was to be gained by telling more stories of horrid behaviour? More cynicism? Even a boycott of opera?
In 15 cities across Canada, roughly 400 musicians are offering free live concerts, "for the purpose of providing healing and connection to those who are affected by suicide, either in surviving a loss or in dealing with their own mental health issues."
On the opposite coast, Boston-based Odyssey Opera is set to offer its latest in opera's under-performed masterpieces. Saint-Saëns' 1883 opera, Henry VIII, centres on the famed love triangle between the Tudor king, his first wife Catherine of Aragon, and his soon-to-be second wife, Anne Boleyn.
Plus! At the piano is Jenna Simeonov (me), founder and editor of Schmopera. Out and about and likely wearing lipstick.
“Although this piece isn't directly about the myth," says stage director Amanda Smith, "I imagine that in Pandora we see what happens when the jar, or box, is opened a second time."
You'll also hear soprano/composer Danika Lorèn's curiously titled The Secret Lives of Vegetables, and in a guarantee for laughs, the song cycle by Toronto favourite Peter Tiefenbach, Chansons de mon placard.
If we look too closely with our 21st-century lens, Montezuma could be seen as problematic. Why champion the Spanish, when their colonialism was so vicious?