Quarantine Questions: Phillip Addis

by | Apr 28, 2020 | Featured, Interviews

Phillip Addis was ready to tour a new production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, until the looming lockdown in Italy meant an overnight flight home after dress rehearsal. The Canadian baritone answers our Quarantine Questions: 

What is something you’ve lost to the pandemic?

“To be honest, I’ve mainly lost what comfort I had regarding time and what to do with it. Stress and the unknown have left me unsettled. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it will alter my decision-making, hopefully helping me focus my endeavours. Nearly all my present projects have been postponed, rather than cancelled completely, so I don’t yet call them lost, and count myself lucky to need only patience for them to come around.

“It was a particular disappointment to flee Italy in the middle of the night after a dress rehearsal for Pelléas et Mélisande. Created by André Barbe and Renaud Doucet with the theatres in Parma, Modena and Piacenza, I really felt it was going to be one of the finest productions I’ve been a part of. Here’s hoping we can realise it in 2021.

“As for the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy, we have extended our application period, and remain optimistic that we can deliver a program this summer, but are naturally planning for the various conditions and restrictions that may be in place. For young artists, at that crucial stage of development between student and professional we want to be sure we can deliver insight and guidance in whatever form possible, to avoid a sort of ‘lost cohort.'”

What have you done with your unexpected time, that makes you grateful?

“I was grateful to have the use of our unoccupied basement apartment for self-isolation upon my return from Italy. In the comfort of that space I did a lot of thinking, reading and writing, even picking up my old electric bass for the first time in at least a decade. I did some tutorials in digital audio workstations and DIY recording, too.

“Since emerging, I’ve counterbalanced all that with manual labour: working overnights stocking shelves at a local supermarket. The work I’ve been doing feels like a useful contribution to my community, but it is also a strong reminder to me that my full potential lies in the arts. This may seem obvious to some, but I suspect that I have actually needed this reminder for some time. I am grateful to my family for their support and for how they are weathering this experience. There is still music in the house, seedlings sprouting in pots, good hearty meals on the table, and time together, often of a different quality than before; the constraints of these times also serve to focus one’s appreciation of what is good.”

-Phillip Addis

Jenna Simeonov

Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera. She also writes for The Globe and Mail and Opera Canada. She’s a pianist and vocal coach, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera.

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