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 mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais:
What do the recent announcements of cancelled 2020/21 opera seasons mean for your professional future?
“It is difficult to predict what the future holds. When all of this started, I had exciting performances lined up, including my debut with Pacific Opera Victoria. Seeing all of this work slip away was very disappointing. Luckily, most of my work so far has been postponed and not cancelled. I am fortunate in that I have another source of income to keep me from worrying too much about the future of my singing career at the moment.
“When it is safe for us to go back on stage and fill concert halls, I am anticipating that companies may have to source more local talent. This situation has had a great impact on travel, and perhaps we will start seeing more and more all-Canadian casts!”
How much time have you spent considering a new career?
“At the beginning of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time considering going back to school. I always knew that this career was unpredictable, but this pandemic made the threat of uncertainty even more real. It was difficult for me to stay motivated to practice while knowing that there would not be the reward of live performance in the foreseeable future. Parallel to my singing career, I also work as an arts administrator and I am lucky enough to be able to work from home. Keeping some sort of structure in my day has been very helpful. Amidst the pandemic, I’ve been able to stay focused on trying to make an impact through the arts, but from the administration side.”
What plans, singing or otherwise, do you have for the coming season?
“I have wanted to do some voice-over work for a while now and have finally purchased some recording equipment. Domoney Artists is currently working on producing digital content which has been a great project to focus on, and great motivation to practice!
I am also enjoying some time at home. My husband, Jorell, is also a performer and we rarely get the chance to be in the same place for an extended period of time.”