As the title suggests, this podcast is about finding bits of hope even when all your gigs are cancelled because there's a global pandemic. Schmopera editor Jenna Simeonov checks in with artists as they deal in their own ways with the loss of income, loss of motivation, and even the loss of identity.
The most important thing to remember is being active on all social media platforms - it is super important right now to have an online presence so that people can see and respond to you. It’s also the easiest, fastest and a free way to advertise for any gigs!
Honestly, in that scene where Mr. X.E. takes a cleaver to the angels' wings, I think I had an "aha" moment. I thought I'd experienced that thing where the story is excellent and the music makes it even more excellent, but this moment was something else entirely.
It's the kind of thing I imagined would happen within the performing arts - yes, even opera. True, the opera world isn't known for making sudden movements, but there are certainly minds in the industry who are staunchly forward-thinking; those people are experiencing some serious inspiration right now.
Instead, composer Olga Neuwirth chose Woolf’s Orlando, her often funny faux-autobiography about a young nobleman in the court of Elizabeth I who awakens one morning as a woman and proceeds to roam about time and space for the next 300 years.
And speaking of the participating artists - I wonder very loudly how they felt about doing this for no fee, particularly those who found out about their cancelled Met contracts through social media posts. It's quite something for Peter Gelb to not call his contracted artists when COVID-19 shut everything down, and then ask them to come help "Save The Met" with a free performance at home. Yikes.
I guess the most humbling thing about this is realizing how utterly in love I am with something that the rest of the world just might deem unessential. Like, in the big-scheme, unessential; the line-up for government aid is already enormous, and priorities have already become clear. The performing arts are certainly a staple of human society...but opera?
I felt like I was actually in a garden surrounded by drooping blossoms, or actually at the opening of a cavernous hole. Throughout I got the sense that this was a production that put a great deal of effort into engaging the senses all at once and imparting an aura of wonderment.
How sad that in announcing the Met’s 2020-21 season and the addition of the first European tour by the Met Orchestra in 20 years, it has taken this course. 26 opera companies in North America have waived Force Majeure and many have adopted plans to pay their soloists at least 50% of their fees.
Some variant of this sentence appears in many a history textbook at some point, but only rarely can it hope to make the sheer impact that Marian's Song did in Houston Grand Opera's world premiere performance.