by Mike Telin
At a time when everyone is practicing social distancing, and shelter in place is for the time being a reality, many artists and arts organizations are responding by moving to streaming formats. Beginning on Monday, March 30, Cleveland Opera Theater will launch Opera for All Online, social-distance-safe programs to experience, explore, and engage in opera. The events are free.
“Throughout the company’s history we’ve always done what was necessary to remain viable and relevant in the community,” Scott Skiba, Cleveland Opera Theater’s executive artistic director, said during a recent telephone conversation. “We’ve often thought about getting into the streaming environment, and now is the opportunity to try some new things without changing the organization’s mission.”
Skiba noted that two Opera for All Online programs were already part of the company’s offerings. That includes Opera-101, which will now meet Monday through Friday at 12:15 pm on the company’s Facebook page. The staff welcomes questions for future sessions (email them here). “People can ask anything they want to know about opera, like can you really break a glass by singing high? Or what do the conductor and the director do?” Skiba said. “Megan Thompson, our director of education and outreach, will moderate and give lectures about upcoming Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.”
The second offering to be moved online is the Opera Club, which will now convene on Mondays from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Zoom. “The club usually meets at restaurants around town, but people are already doing happy hours and meet-ups online, so we thought this would be a great way to get even more people interested in what we do,” Skiba said. The March 30 session will feature Queen City Opera’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. “We encourage people to pour their favorite drink, grab a snack, and connect to opera in a social-distance-safe way.”
A new program is Page to Stage, which will meet on Wednesdays from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Zoom. Attendees will get exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to learn about the creative process behind a mainstage production. Take part in interactive discussions and Q&A’s with Cleveland Opera Theater’s artistic team to learn about the various steps of collaboration, including design, production, and rehearsing. This Wednesday, Skiba will join technical and scenic designers to discuss Bizet’s Carmen, which will open the company’s 2020-21 season.
On Fridays from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm, the Cleveland Opera Theater staff and guest artists will offer online master classes on Zoom. Topics will include audition preparation, language and diction, drama, interpretation, and business. The program is designed for conservatory- and college-aged students, but all are welcome.
In April the company will stream their 2017 production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. The event will include downloadable educational packets to enrich the in-home experience for opera fans of all ages. “We already have a lot of resources designed for in-school use, but Megan is working on some that are grade-specific,” Skiba said. “So if you have a six-year-old like I do, this will help you figure out what to tell them to look for in the opera.”
For a fee, singers can receive coachings from Cleveland Opera Theater staff members via Zoom. You can arrange your individual coaching sessions by contacting Megan Thompson.
“Who knows what the future holds?” Skiba said. “These online programs may become a regular part of our offerings.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com March 30, 2020.
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