Jaime Martino, Executive Director, Tapestry Opera. Photo: Dahlia Katz

Opera Canada‘s Summer 2020 issue has been sent to press and will be available within the next week! 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 Tapestry Opera’s Executive Director, Jaime Martino. 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.

Jaime Martino, Executive Director, Tapestry Opera

This is a challenging time, there is no doubt. We are shaken, afraid for the financial survival of artists, worried about next season being cancelled, and yet resolute in finding creative solutions to creating meaningful art and work for artists. One of Tapestry Opera’s first conversations when the pandemic started was about communicating regularly and clearly with artists and guaranteeing their full fees. 

Our next most urgent task was to make a call regarding “Songbook X,” our masterclass and concert in the middle of March. It was already clear that we couldn’t proceed with business as usual, and so with only a week’s notice, masterclass clinicians Krisztina Szabó and Chris Foley agreed to put together a full livestream recital. We went live on a Saturday with over 1000 views and an active live-comment section including John Estacio, Kim Barber, and other opera luminaries. It was an eye-opening experiment. The success meant that livestreaming became a goal, not just a reaction, and we secured a sponsor for a two-month concert series once restrictions have been lifted a little.  

Jaime Martino
First day of virtual rehearsals for Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner

Instead of a live April production of Rocking Horse Winner, we are engaging with the artists in a distanced rehearsal process, relying on pre-recorded tracks and zoom-conferencing to get the show to musical readiness, and organically discover new opportunities for digital use.

Tapestry has five new operas in development and is moving ahead with dramaturgy, development, and securing partnerships, but now with more flexible timelines. We believe that a creation company is best suited to produce opera for an online medium, and new commissions for that purpose are now a priority for our creative investment. 

For artists worried about the current situation, we hear you. We vow to make time and space to hear your hopes for what the future brings for Tapestry, your own careers, and the sector more broadly. We know that your talent and heart are at the core of the industry, and we are working to build new opportunities for you in the coming season. If you have a crazy idea, pitch Tapestry!

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!

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