In a pandemic-ridden world, this is my call for kindness, patience, and compassion. It all begins with schmoozing.
On the micro level, the Twin Cities has a thriving opera and theater community filled with small grassroots companies. I hope these companies survive and continue to engage their audiences until live performances are safe.
Throughout his career his dedication to Shakespeare was unwavering. It was said that he could recite extended passages from Shakespeare's work with eloquence often surpassing that of cultivated speakers in his England, his adopted homeland.
Thankfully, Odyssey Opera thought a little ahead of the curve: for the next album in their recordings of newer opera, they have opted to put The Trial at Rouen on Boston Modern Orchestra Project's recording label, BMOP/sound, and with the same cast that performed it in December 2017, no less!
These are strange times, and I am still not convinced that going virtual is the way. Has it afforded us some opportunities we would not have had otherwise? Sure. Has it required us to get creative in ways we could not have imagined? Certainly.
I think Neef has been playing a different game than Canadian opera fans. He was making the COC a new hub in the international opera scene, and we were loving the big gets onstage.
This was a piece that did not feel as though it existed musically as a complete score but more so in the gathering of people together, in the physicality of the performance space, and in the unknowable magic that occurs in the moment of performance itself.
This aria is a ballad to Queen Mab, a mysterious fairy creature that gets into one's dreams; it's a breathless bit of excitement that sets up Mercutio as Roméo's outgoing, affable friend, so when he meets his end later in the opera, the loss sinks in deeply.
How do you stage something that is so static in tableau and also has so few characters? And more to the point, how does a company stage it in a time when theaters are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
I don't live in the vast world of opera, anymore, and it's fucking sad. I haven't had one of those heart-racing experiences at a live show since February. I haven't had that happy, vibrating commute home in the magical night-time after seeing something incredible; it's been a long time since I've felt the relief of taking off high heels at the end of the night, or placed those heels gently back on their shelf, for next time.