Opera Canada‘s Summer 2020 issue has been sent to press and will be available within the next 2 weeks. The issue is dedicated in large part to conversations with Canadian opera artists and company administrators, and how they are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. A special “Letters from home” section focuses on Canada’s new generation of opera artists, like these thoughts from soprano Anna-Sophie Neher. The best way to support ongoing, professional journalism dedicated to Canada’s opera scene is by subscribing to Opera Canada. Don’t forget, for readers under 30, we’re offering 50% off our regular subscription rate–$15 for 4 regular quarterly issues. As an added FREE bonus, our special 60th anniversary issue will be added to all new and regular subscriptions. We’re busily working on this collector’s edition, due out this October.
Anna-Sophie Neher, soprano
I am one of the lucky ones. I still have a steady job with the Ensemble Studio (Thank you Canadian Opera Company and all the sponsors). Five days a week, I open my computer and have virtual lessons and meetings; I work dramatically and musically on upcoming roles and on vocal technique through the delayed eyes of Zoom, Facetime, or Skype. I cook, I read, I organize virtual happy hours with friends and family, I play the piano in my pajamas, and I try to do some arts and craft even though I am absolutely terrible at it.
I am also one of the unlucky ones. Some things inevitably had to be canceled: concerts at which I was really looking forward to singing, people I wanted to meet and… a wedding dress to wear.
In these strange times, I can’t help but question everything. What is important for me? Why do I make my job so stressful? Have I washed my hands in the last 15 minutes? Am I going to run out of hand cream? In case of a zombie attack, who would I risk going outside and dying for? Is it Thursday or Monday?
I also find many answers; things seem simpler, clearer. I am uplifted by all the artists laying their souls on social media platforms. I am thankful for all the essential workers sweating through the day so that I can stay safe at home. I am amazed by the medical staff around the world, and moved to tears by people flashing their lights for them in gratitude.
To anyone feeling a little down, know that you are not alone. For maybe the first time ever, the whole world is right there with you.
As Albus Dumbledore would say, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
For the full feature…as well as our stories about Vancouver Opera at 60; Opera and Broadway and an exclusive interview with mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier, consider subscribing…or give Opera Canada as a gift!
Angela Bell is Opera Canada’s Digital Media Specialist. She has held digital and PR roles with various businesses including the Walt Disney Company, Sullivan Entertainment and Toronto International Film Festival.