The panel discussion follow up to the presentation I described in an earlier post took place yesterday afternoon. It was an interesting panel; a dramaturg, a lighting designer, a couple of directors, a singer, the head of a small regional opera company etc. They were all interesting, thoughtful and well, nice, people but what was clearly missing was anyone who had ever held a position of influence in a major North American opera company or even anyone of contrarian views so the discussion did feel a bit tame.
Yesterday saw the first part of Opera America’s webinar Managing the Inherited Repertoire. It consisted of a half hour talk by Bernard Foccroulle, formerly boss at La Monnaie and the Aix Festival and will be followed up by a panel discussion tomorrow at 3pm. I think you can still view the talk on Opera America’s Youtube channel.
We are starting to see full length, made for streaming content appearing rather than the rather variable quality, mainly amateur efforts of a few months ago. Here a couple of examples:
- Jeff Crompton’s new chamber opera based on the life of jazz musician Buddy Bolden was due to premiere in Atlanta in June. It’s now been recorded and mixed with visuals for an online release on October 16th. It’s a 45 minute piece for five singers and saxophone trio. More details here. I think this one is free. I checked out bits of the free press preview and it seems interesting and well produced.
- Decameron Opera Coalition; a collective of nine smaller opera companies in the US have come up with an innovative idea for a series of opera evenings. It’s based on Boccaccio’s Decameron, which tells of ten people who, in time of plague, isolate themselves and tell stories (some of them quite naughty as I recall). So, in our time of plague, each company has created a short opera plus there’s a collective intro and ending. They will go online on four Friday nights in October (9th/16th/23rd/30th) and stay available for a while. This one isn’t free. A ticket is $15 (US presumably) and covers all four shows. More details.
Opera America recently awarded a series of grants to opera companies for audience development. Most of these grants went to mainstream opera companies; usually “the big guy in town”. $35000 though went to Toronto’s Tapestry Opera. Yesterday I met with artistic director Michael Mori to find out what it was all about.