Reflections on an interview

Shure_mikrofon_55SA couple of days ago Joseph So interviewed Alexander Neef about various aspects of the current situation in a session organised by the IRCPA.  Inevitably and appropriately it focussed heavily on the challenges facing performers; especially those at the beginning of their careers, but there were a couple or three things not related to that that really caught my attention.

The first was around the theme of “what does the opera world look like if and when we get back in the theatre?”  One part of this question that really wasn’t addressed was “will it be the same audience?”  Given the demographics of the current viral epidemic I really wonder whether the oldest section of the audience will come back; at least in the short/medium term.  Which is probably linked to a question that was addressed which was “will the financial impact of the crisis make companies program more conservatively?”  Alexander handled this pretty diplomatically (surprise!) by answering (more or less) “if we don’t make art, we cease to have a purpose” and saying there was a limit to how many times one could program standard rep, though to be honest I’ve never detected any such limit at the COC.  My guess is that we see an intensification of the trend already apparent under the pressure of long term decline in ticket sales.  That’s to say one or two marquee productions a season buttressed with unchallenging revivals of the Operabase top 20 but we shall see.  That’s been a formula that has, by and large, appealed to the traditional audience but if (big if) future audiences skew younger it may merely make things worse.

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A couple more on-line events.

Tomorrow at 3pm EST Jo So is interviewing Alexander Neef on a Zoom channel under the auspices of the IRCPA.  You need to register as space is limited.  The topics, how to register etc can be found at https://ircpa.net

On Friday May 29th at 8pm EST there’s another virtual event.  The vocal/piano du Chordless (Allegra Chapman and Sarah LeMesh) will be premiering a music video of George Crumb’s The Night in Silence Under Many a Star.  I’ve seen a short preview and I’m intrigued.  It will be followed by a Q&A on the theme of “How will digital media shape artists’ and audience’s performance experience, even beyond the pandemic era?”  Registration information is here

nightissilence.

Podcasting again

judgementalA couple of weeks ago Lydia Perovic of Definitely the Opera, The Globe and Mail and other sundry publications invited myself, Jenna Douglas Simeonov of Schmopera, Joseph So of Ludvig Van and Opera Canada, and Sara Constant of The WholeNote over to her place to record a podcast on our musical/operatic impressions of 2017.  She has summarised it rather nicely here, where you can also listen to it or download it.  It’s an hour and a quarter of controversy and, just maybe, erudition and wit.