Lucia Cesaroni.
Canadian soprano Lucia Cesaroni.

As Canada’s artists ready themselves for far-reaching cancellations in the 2020-21 opera season, Opera Canada is checking in. What is the ripple effect of an opera-free season? How many Canadians will call themselves professional artists in a year’s time? How bad has it gotten for freelancing individuals? And are there silver linings? We look for answers in our new series of Q&As, “What’s next?” Next up is soprano Lucia Cesaroni:

What do the recent announcements of cancelled 2020/21 opera seasons mean for your professional future?

“My future seems much the same as that of my artist friends around the world: Wait and see. Thus far, I’ve had my debuts with both the Toronto and Vancouver Symphonies rescheduled for June 2021, my role debut as Fiordiligi with Vancouver Opera postponed and am still waiting on word regarding a Bohéme in North Carolina. And recently, I had to turn down an offer from Opera San Jose to border issues and California’s current case spike.”

How much time have you spent considering a new career?

“Rather than considering a new career, I’ve been working! Tapestry Opera nimbly pivoted our contracted spring production of Rocking Horse Winner to an entirely new format: Zoom rehearsals and coachings combined with our home recordings during isolation. This first part served as preparation for our (safely-distanced) studio recording, completed this week! It is going places, so stay tuned ;).”

Lucia Cesaroni
(l-r) Asitha Tennekoon, Lucia Cesaroni, Peter McGillivray, and Keith Klassen recording Rocking Horse Winner with Tapestry Opera. Photo by Michael Mori.

What plans, singing or otherwise, do you have for the coming season?

“There is an opportunity, here, in this very challenging time for our industry. While most Canadian artists who work and live abroad are at home, like I am, for the foreseeable future, we could take advantage of this talent treasure trove. It won’t be a proscenium and a crowd and it certainly shouldn’t be the poor-quality, archival recording parade we’re seeing. What is our national style? Do we have one, really? Shall we make one, while we’re all here, that truly represents our Indigenous roots and our multicultural present? Who are the arts entrepreneurs using the interconnectedness of media to create new, hybrid art forms?

“The power of the uncompressed, unamplified human voice will return but in the meantime, let’s make something new. I’m involved with several initiatives to do just that, from consulting, cataloguing and recording to video production and of course, singing therein!”